Translating Cancer Into Cure.

Often described as “from bench to bedside” research, translational drug discovery and development is based on the concept that the creation of new drugs should relate directly to patient needs and should couple laboratory research with observations made in the clinic. Translational Research targets specific mechanisms underlying clinically relevant problems and designs drugs to address those issues directly.

By understanding the specific mutations, scientists can develop more specific, precise therapy that is highly individualized based on the mutation. Targeted therapy is becoming the more prevalent approach in cancer therapeutics, and requires the collaboration of a team of investigators to:

  • Identify new molecular targets
  • Validate these targets in cell cultures and then animal models
  • Develop new drugs to address these targets
  • Test new drugs in clinical trials

Dr. Ramesh Narayanan

Dr. Ramesh Narayanan, a leading West Cancer Center researcher and Director of the Center for Cancer Drug Discovery at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center, has developed a proprietary selective androgen receptor degrader (SARD) technology to treat prostate cancer. The new technology has entered into an exclusive worldwide agreement with GTx, Inc., generating headline news in the prostate cancer research and treatment community.

Dr. Pfeffer

Since 2009, Dr. Pfeffer and other researchers have been investigating new strategies to fight glioma, the deadliest brain cancer. They started out knowing that interferon, a protein produced by the immune system, had the potential to rally the body’s defenses against glioma and other types of cancer. The team looked at the pathways involved in controlling interferon action and determined that, for some reason, the pathways went haywire, preventing the drug from doing its job. They discovered ways to circumvent the blocked pathway so that interferon can be an effective cancer killer. Dr. Pfeffer’s study is now moving into its next phase. If he continues to find success with his strategy, he plans to test his discovery in human clinical trials.

Dr. Miranda-Carboni

With research primarily focused on the signaling pathways associated with metastasis in triple negative breast cancer, Dr. Miranda-Carboni received a grant in 2014 from the National Cancer Institute to develop targeted therapeutics to treat or prevent lung metastasis for triple negative breast cancer patients. In addition to his ongoing research in biomarker characterization for aggressive breast cancer in African-American women at high risk for TNBC, Dr. Miranda-Carboni’s lab is also leading research efforts in addressing cancer health disparities.