Cancer exhibits enormous genomic and biological complexity wherein multiple gene aberrations act to maintain the malignancy. This redundancy has hampered the development of effective single agent drugs. The Belfer Institute's mission is to convert insights gleaned from cancer genomics and biology research into effective drug development efforts that will yield the next generation of drugs and drug combinations.
The Belfer Institute at Dana-Farber consists of three multidisciplinary teams supported by powerful platforms in computational science, oncogenomics, and engineered model systems. The Discovery Team analyzes multidimensional human cancer genome data and context-specific genetic screens in vivo to identify potential therapeutic targets, which are subjected to intensive mechanistic and clinicopathological analyses. Once a highly validated and clinically credentialed preclinical therapeutic target has been defined, the Pipeline Team conducts antibody or small-molecule discovery efforts in order to generate strong preclinical therapeutic candidates, internally or in collaboration with pharmaceutical partners. The Business Development Team focuses on project management, business development, and intellectual property activities.
Dana-Farber's Belfer investigators have led efforts to characterize the glioblastoma genome through The Cancer Genome Atlas (TCGA) pilot project and melanoma, pancreatic, and ovarian cancer genomes through international efforts. They have demonstrated that receptor tyrosine kinase coextinction is a potentially viable clinical path for brain and other cancers. The Belfer Institute's efforts have led to three drug discovery programs with industry and two internal programs. These efforts have yielded FDA approval of six drug regimens to treat multiple myeloma. Using multiple myeloma as a guidepost, Belfer investigators are focused on developing effective drugs and combination regimens for a variety of solid tumors.
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