Two top research organizations join to speed cancer research with molecular probes

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Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and the Centre for Probe Development and Commercialization (CPDC) at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, will work together to create novel molecular probes for non-invasive imaging in cancer research, drug development and patient care.

The two leading organizations will form an International Probe Development Consortium (IPDC) to enable and support their collaboration.

The IPDC will combine the technical expertise of the CPDC with Dana-Farber’s deep cancer knowledge and experience, making it an attractive partner for academic and industry researchers seeking to develop and exploit next generation probes. The arising discoveries will allow researchers and clinicians to use non-invasive molecular imaging to understand the biology of cancers and accelerate the development of new therapeutics.

Probes are a special class of molecules that are administered to patients in order to visualize their cancers using non-invasive imaging devices like PET scanners. In addition to enhancing the ability to detect the size and shape of cancers, molecular probes can reveal characteristics about the disease that can help select the optimal therapy and also tell physicians very early on if a treatment is working.

“We are thrilled to be part of this new consortium,” said Barrett Rollins, MD, PhD, chief scientific officer at Dana-Farber and the Linde Family Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School. “We are poised to put recent advances in our understanding of the molecular and genetic basis of cancer to work to dramatically improve patient outcomes.”

Rob Baker, McMaster’s vice-president of research, said the collaboration speaks to the reputation and strength of the CPDC, and builds on McMaster’s focus on innovative international partnerships. “This is one of those perfect pairings: blending top science, commercialization and renowned academic and clinical partners where the outputs will benefit patients, the world over.”

“We are excited about launching a major collaborative program with one of the premier cancer research institutions,” said John Valliant, PhD, who founded the CPDC. “The IPDC provides a mechanism to collaborate and create innovative imaging probes that improve cancer care while providing the relationships and mechanisms needed to disseminate new discoveries and help patients on an international scale.”

The CPDC and Dana-Farber each have a long and successful track record of partnering with other research centers, and the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industries and the IPDC will leverage their experience and the strengths to bring new therapies to patients sooner.

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