PURDUE UNIVERSITY Center for Cancer Research was renewed as an NCI-designated basic science cancer center, and was awarded $8 million in funding over the next five years. In its review, the institute rated the center as “outstanding.”
“Notably, the center has clear examples of having translated a number of its discoveries,” the review stated. “The center is poised to move to a new level of national impact in drug discovery and development.” The center was first established as an NCI basic science cancer center in 1978.
Of the 68 NCI-designated cancer centers, only seven are basic laboratory cancer centers, which conduct laboratory research and do not provide patient treatment. The center’s discovery groups focus on bladder cancer, brain cancer, breast cancer, prostate cancer and links between obesity and cancer.
The center has established partnerships with Indiana University Simon Cancer Center in Indianapolis, IU Health Arnett in Lafayette, Indiana, and is a member of The Big Ten Cancer Research Consortium.
“The grant from the NCI will help us maintain and grow these shared resources so we can continue to nurture multidisciplinary collaborations and lead in the field of basic cancer research,” said Douglas Cuttell, the center’s managing director. “It also will enhance our ability to attract top talent and to expand into emerging areas of cancer research. For example, over the next five years we plan to expand genomics and bioinformatics work that can feed into the field of personalized medicine.”
The center plays a significant role in the Purdue Moves drug discovery initiative, and has expanded its physical presence through the new Bindley Multidisciplinary Cancer Research Facility and space at the new Drug Discovery Facility.
“More than 14 million people in the U.S. have a history of cancer and more than one million new cases will be diagnosed this year,” said Timothy Ratliff, the Robert Wallace Miller Director of the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research. “We want to eliminate any hurdles or gaps in the path from research concept to a tool or treatment available to patients.”
JOSEPH GULFO was named executive director of the Rothman Institute of Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Fairleigh Dickinson University.
The university also launched the Initiative for Patient Centered Innovation, to be led by Gulfo, in collaboration with the School of Pharmacy’s Center for Healthcare Innovation and Technology. Among the programs to be undertaken include the Medical Innovation Impact Index, shadow advisory committee panels, and audits of regulations and guidance documents.
Gulfo is the author of Innovation Breakdown: How the FDA and Wall Street Cripple Medical Advances and a contributor to Inc.com. He has more than 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical and medical device industries and received the American Business Awards Maverick of the Year Award in 2012. He also teaches graduate courses on strategic innovation management in FDU’s MBA program.
DON GABRIEL joined the Global Clinical Development & Operations team of United BioSource Corp., a subsidiary of Express Scripts. Gabriel will direct UBC’s consultative services to pharmaceutical sponsors developing oncology therapies.
A bone marrow transplant physician, Gabriel held a long tenure at the University of North Carolina where he served as professor of medicine, associate chief of staff, assistant dean for clinical services, acting chief of medical oncology, and service chief liaison of the Division of Hematology/Oncology.
He has co-developed an optical laser-based technology used to identify and characterize suspended particles in the blood, including circulating tumor cells.
“Joining UBC gives me the opportunity to work with an organization that is using cutting edge clinical study design to search deep into the biochemistry of new molecules and help take those molecules to the next stage of development,” said Gabriel.
CHILDREN’S HOSPITAL OF WISCONSIN opened its MACC Fund Center clinic and Northwestern Mutual Day Hospital.
“Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin is grateful for its long standing partnership with the MACC Fund, an organization exceptionally dedicated to children with cancer and blood disorders,” said Peggy Troy, CEO of the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin. “Through the support of the MACC Fund and Northwestern Mutual, we are able to continue our mission to advance diagnosis and treatments, provide excellence in clinical care, expand training and research efforts, and improve access and outcomes.”
The new care areas on the fifth floor of Children’s Hospital are co-located with the MACC Fund Center inpatient unit and critical care unit. Designed with the help of 10 former MACC Fund Center patients and their families, the renovation features a 10,384-square-foot clinic with the latest technology for improved care delivery, 18 exam rooms and a neuropsychiatric testing suite.
The 10,329-square-foot day hospital includes an activities center, 14 private infusion suites, and a specialized chemotherapy pharmacy.
“We are proud to introduce the Northwestern Mutual Day Hospital, which will enable the doctors, nurses and staff to provide a best-in-class experience to the patients and their families, integrating technology and support services,” said John Kordsmeier, president of the Northwestern Mutual Foundation. “When a child receives a cancer diagnosis, the family does as well. We want to help ensure that when a family is undergoing treatment, they have a family-friendly environment that allows kids to be kids.”
Since the MACC Fund Center program began in 1980: more than 5,000 children have received care through the Oncology Program; more than 1,000 children have received blood and marrow transplants; and 300 children are actively managed for sickle cell disease annually, and 250 new patients are treated for other blood disorders.
ROCHE acquired CAPP Medical, a genomics research company founded by members of Stanford University, to advance the development of technology for cancer screening and monitoring through the detection of circulating tumor DNA in blood.
CAPP Medical’s novel technology is designed to isolate and quantify small amounts of ctDNA through a blood draw, which can be used for cancer therapy selection and monitoring tumor response and resistance to therapy.
“Roche believes focused and high quality next generation sequencing assays using simple blood draws have the potential to significantly advance the time of cancer diagnosis and change routine cancer diagnostic monitoring and may be highly cost effective compared to today’s current standard of using PET and CT imaging to monitor tumor progression,” said Roland Diggelmann, COO of Roche Diagnostics.
CAPP Medical is a privately held company founded in October 2013. CAPP Medical’s technology focuses on assay design and the bioinformatics that allow for the detection of multiple mutations with a single assay.