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7.06.2016

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center Launches Drug Discovery Core

Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine has launched the Sylvester Drug Discovery Core (SDDC) — the next link in the chain of turning scientific discoveries into cancer drugs. The mandate of the new facility will be to bring this capability to Sylvester researchers.

The initiative is being led by Shaun Brothers, Ph.D., a Sylvester member and assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences. Brothers moved to Florida in 2006 as an early member of the Scripps Research Institute in Florida, a drug-discovery-focused organization. He was recruited to the University of Miami in 2011 to help the institution with its drug development efforts.

“I am delighted by this opportunity and energized by the SDDC initiative, which will be the pinnacle of my previous work in drug discovery,” said Brothers. “Physicians and researchers alike aspire to discover and develop drugs that can improve health outcomes. Access to this science typically is beyond the grasp of most scientists within the pharmaceutical industry.

“The goal of the SDDC is to provide core facilities and expertise that will translate basic scientific discoveries into pre-clinical drug candidates and then clinical therapies for cancer patients,” he said. “We are already being approached by many physician-scientists to start or advance their drug discovery program. There is a significant unmet need for this kind of work within the community of cancer researchers at Sylvester.”

“The Sylvester Drug Discovery Core will be extremely useful to our development of high-throughput screening platforms to discover new cancer drugs to treat diseases such as uveal melanoma – work we are doing based on a highly innovative assay that we have developed,” said J. William Harbour, M.D., Sylvester’s Associate Director for Basic Research, the Mark J. Daily Chair in Ophthalmology, and Director of Ocular Oncology at Bascom Palmer Eye Institute. “We would not have had the ability to take this discovery through the whole process without the expertise of Dr. Brothers and his team.”

“We continue to build clinical and research capabilities,” said Sylvester Director Steven D. Nimer, M.D. “New promising clinical trials, cutting-edge cancer research and the ability to translate discoveries in the laboratory into new, effective treatments for patients. This is another step in our journey.”

“I’m here to bridge the gap between basic science research and clinical research,” said Brothers. “The most gratifying part of my job is that we are discovering compounds that could potentially treat and cure disease. It’s an incredible thought that someone, someday will benefit directly from drugs that I helped discover. There is clear potential for improving patients’ lives with this new facility.”

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