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Cancer-Drug Development: Gleevec's Legacy and Lessons

Summary

HHMI's Brian Drucker and Charles Sawyers, pioneers in the development of the cancer-fighting drug Gleevec, discuss their research and the future concerns of bringing new drugs to the clinic. On Capitol Hill, June 19. Open to the public.

On June 19, two pioneers in the development of the cancer-fighting drug Gleevec will describe frontier research, regulatory challenges, and implications for drug costs and pharmaceutical sector profitability of efforts to bring the next generation of cancer drugs to the clinic.

The drug Gleevec, which is manufactured by Novartis, has emerged as a model for researchers seeking to target the underlying molecular defects responsible for specific forms of cancer. Researchers are now actively using the development of Gleevec as a blueprint for constructing new therapies for other types of cancer.

During this session, leading scientists involved in the development of Gleevec, Drs. Brian J. Druker and Charles L. Sawyers, will share their perspective on the future of this realm of cancer research—touching on public policy matters relating to FDA approval of cancer drugs; the design of clinical trials; creating more incentive for academic-industry collaboration; and how reclassification of certain forms of cancer may impact the bottom line of pharmaceutical companies.

Dr. Brian J. Druker, a Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) investigator at Oregon Health & Sciences University, was the lead investigator who identified the compound that ultimately became Gleevec and was responsible for shepherding the drug through clinical trials. Dr. Charles L. Sawyers, an HHMI investigator at the University of California, Los Angeles, was one of the principal investigators in the early clinical trials and is leading studies of resistance mechanisms to Gleevec. They will also discuss lessons learned from the front lines in the development of Gleevec; why the drug achieves its remarkable success; and how researchers are now using knowledge gleaned from Gleevec to design next-generation drugs that drive cancer into remission.

Please join us for this session on June 19 from 12 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the Dirksen Senate Building, SDG11. Lunch will be served. If you would like to attend, please RSVP by email to biotech@csis.org with your full contact information. Questions can be directed to Sophia Siddiqui at (202) 775-3244.

This is the fourth session in the seminar series on biotechnology and public policy co-hosted by the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

For additional background see:

Gleevec's Glory Days
(http://www.hhmi.org/bulletin/dec2001/gleevec/)

Pinpointing the Mutations that Cause Resistance to Gleevec
(http://www.hhmi.org/news/gleevec.html)

Promising New Therapies for Deadly Form of Leukemia
(http://www.hhmi.org/news/gilliland2.html)

Research Bios:

Brian J. Druker (http://www.hhmi.org/research/investigators/druker.html)

Charles L. Sawyers (http://www.hhmi.org/research/investigators/sawyers.html)

For More Information

Jim Keeley
[ 301-215-8858 ]