Institute for Applied Cancer Science
To effectively impact patient care, IACS programs are selected for their ability to change the course of disease. Three elements are essential for the success of every program in the IACS’s portfolio:
- Discovery of molecules with the appropriate properties to safely and effectively inhibit the target in patients for the required duration and that can be combined with other agents.
- Comprehensive understand of the role of protein in initiating and sustaining tumorgenesis.
- IACS ensures appropriate enrollment of patient subsets. No two tumors are alike. IACS scientists work closely with the physicians at MD Anderson to understand which specific tumors will be effectively treated by a new agent.
IACS is a relatively small venture with finite current resources; therefore, the Institute must be thoughtful with its project portfolio management and prioritization. With current resources, IACS can simultaneously execute three late stage drug discovery programs, which may take between 18 and 36 months — the industry standard — to develop a clinical candidate.
Our team has objectively evaluated close to 100 potential projects originating from internal screens and analysis, MD Anderson researcher discoveries and scientific literature. IACS projects are selected weighing not only clinical impact and scientific merit, but also technical feasibility.
Following the stringent up-front evaluation process, IACS programs are driven forward by cross-functional project teams according to a comprehensive work plan, which includes predefined decision points. These go/no-go decision points allow for risk mitigation while the project potential is objectively evaluated, providing definitive exit points if a program is not performing as anticipated. This evaluation process prevents time and resources from being wasted programs that will not reach the clinic, which allows deployment of resources elsewhere.