Department of Experimental Therapeutics
The Department of Experimental Therapeutics is leading the effort to coordinate all stages of the therapeutic discovery and development process. Our initiative is to design new, more effective and specific drugs with less toxicity, targeted for individualized therapy and accelerate the delivery of these new drug therapies from the research bench to the patient’s bedside.
Our mission begins with hypothesis-driven research that identifies and validates targets; continues with the discovery, development and design of biological therapies and drug agents; and is followed by pre-clinical and clinical trials – with each step working toward the goal of personalized medicine.
The establishment of the Center for Targeted Therapy, which occupies one of seven unique, state-of-the-art facilities that form the Red and Charline McCombs Institute for the Early Detection and Treatment of Cancer located on the south campus of MD Anderson Cancer Center, provides researchers and clinicians alike a clearly defined pathway for the purposeful engineering of drug therapies – a first for an academic institution.
Close collaboration with specialized services at MD Anderson Cancer Center involving chemistry, pharmacology and toxicology, as well as with the Division of Cancer Medicine, the Robert J. Kleberg, Jr., and Helen C. Kleberg Center for Molecular Markers and the will provide investigators the opportunity to maximize the therapeutic benefit of treatment and limit the undesirable side effects of therapeutic agents. Minimally invasive imaging procedures and tissue biomarkers will be used to select those patients who are likely to respond to a drug treatment and subsequently to follow the response of the drug, allowing our researchers to identify subtypes of responders and mix-and-match drugs to individualize a patient’s treatment.
The team effort between basic researchers, clinicians and translational researchers is a “three-legged stool” of successful personalized cancer treatment – each leg is necessary to achieve the desired balance. Our laboratory scientists will have ready-access to patient samples and clinical observations that are needed for the creation of new drug therapies and our chemists will be able to design the chemical structure of a drug to make it more effective or reduce its side effects.
The molecular and genetic targets that we identify will be the next frontier in cancer treatment, but also in cancer prevention, allowing physicians to correct or destroy cells with defects before they become a health threat.
As MD Anderson Cancer Center seeks to improve the care of its patients by expanding its research focus into targeted therapies and capitalizing on the unprecedented opportunities presented by recent scientific advances in genomics and molecular biology, the faculty of the Department of Experimental Therapeutics will be there to translate this research into more effective, less toxic, personalized treatment and prevention strategies.
Our vision is nothing short of curing cancer.