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Norris Cotton Cancer Center
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Molecular Therapeutics Program Themes

The research conducted within the Molecular Therapeutics Program can be described under the following four highly interactive themes.

Synthesis and discovery of novel compounds and potential anticancer drugs.
This theme has grown significantly over the past 5 years through recruitments and expanded collaborations. Each chemist contributes significantly to the research of one or more of the biology-based teams through synthesis of compounds to interrogate various signaling pathways, while in turn the biology laboratories provide the testing resources for assessing structure/activity relationships that fuel further chemical synthesis and lead optimization.

Interrogation of potential new targets and therapeutic strategies.
Investigators in this theme are at the center of collaborations from chemistry to clinical research. The research approaches primarily investigate signaling pathways as potential therapeutic targets in tumor cells and the development of novel agents, either alone or in rationally designed combinations.

Development of biomarkers for cancer diagnosis and prediction of treatment response.
The biomarker platforms currently under investigation include molecular and histopathological assays, genomics, and phosphoproteomics. Many of these approaches translate research from the cell-based investigations into clinical proof-of-concept trials. An important focus is the investigation and discovery of biomarkers of therapeutic response for patient stratification and personalized therapeutics.

Development of hypothesis-based cancer clinical trials.
This theme extends hypotheses generated in the laboratory to testing in early-phase clinical trials, both in therapeutic and proof-of-concept trials. It is important to recognize the contributions of the clinical investigators to the success of the MT program. Each of the clinical faculty is a member of a research team that includes laboratory scientists and is integral in moving the basic science concepts into clinical trials. Hence, while they may not be Principal Investigators on extramural grants, they often are funded as co-investigators, coauthors on manuscripts, and are the catalyst to obtain intra- or extramural funding to support NCCC-investigator initiated trials.