Trinity College Dublin first European Member of National Cancer Institute’s Chemical Biology Consortium

Posted on: 19 October 2009

Trinity College Dublin has become the first European institution to join as an official member of the National Cancer Institute’s Chemical Biology Consortium. The Chemical Biology Consortium (CBC) is an innovative international development that aims to bridge the gap between basic scientific investigation and clinical research, in order to bring new drugs to the clinic for the cancer patient.

Commenting on the significance of this development, Dr David Lloyd, Dean of Research and Head of the School of Biochemistry & Immunology’s Molecular Design Group, TCD stated “I am delighted that Trinity College Dublin is the first European University to join the CBC. This is an important step aligned to TCD’s delivery of a dedicated Centre for Cancer Drug Discovery and emphasises how an academic centre can play a significant role in the drug discovery and development process. Cancer is clearly a disease that everyone relates to and more importantly, it is a disease where we can have real impact through focused international partnerships such as the CBC. To have Trinity and Ireland positioned as part of this international spectrum of pharmaceutical research is timely and testimony to the quality and relevance of cancer research on the island”.

Human asbestos-linked lung cancer cells (mesothelioma) dying in response to administration of a TCD-developed experimental therapeutic compound, imaged using fluorescent microscopy.

There is a pressing need for shorter drug development timelines, enhanced targeted drug discovery approaches and more streamlined processes to assess anticancer drug action early in the drug development process, allied to a mechanism that provides a rigorous, more effective, scientific basis for selecting potential new oncology drugs, according to Dr Lloyd.

The CBC involves chemical biologists, translational scientists, molecular oncologists, screening centres from government, industry, and academia with specific skills and expertise to address unmet needs in therapeutic oncology. As a member of the CBC, TCD will contribute to a “team science” based accelerated cancer drug discovery effort from target identification, high throughput screening, all the way through clinical trials.

“It is a very exciting development”, commented Professor Mark Lawler, School of Medicine, TCD who worked with Dr Lloyd to advance this initiative. “It allows TCD cancer research to benefit from the significant expertise within an integrated international consortium. It provides a clear pathway for exciting discoveries in the laboratory to be translated to new therapies for the benefit of cancer patients”, Professor Lawler added.

“Our mission is to advance first-in-class, targeted molecular therapeutic agents to the clinic. CBC-related activities will span the entire spectrum from target identification and validation through proof-of-concept (POC) Phase I/II clinical trials. We are delighted that Trinity College Dublin has joined us in this initiative, emphasising the international nature of the collaborative venture,” said Barbara Mroczkowski, Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis National Cancer Institute and who was instrumental in the development of the CBC initiative.