Sanford Burnham Prebys selected for participation in National Cancer Institute Chemical Biology Consortium

Split picture of Colin Loweth, Ph.D. on the left, and the sign for the Conrad Prebys for Chemical Genomics on the right.

For the third time, Sanford Burnham Prebys has been selected by the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, currently operated by Leidos Biomedical Research, Inc., supporting the NCI Experimental Therapeutics (NExT) Program as a Center for the Chemical Biology Consortium (CBC).

NExT works to bring life-changing therapies to people with cancer by supporting the most promising drug discovery and development research. Sanford Burnham Prebys was first selected for the consortium in 2009, and the selection was renewed for the first time in 2016. The current selection continues that designation for the next five years.

“Sanford Burnham Prebys has stellar facilities and scientific resources, so it’s great that we’re able to continue to be a part of this Consortium and share the benefit of those resources for cancer researchers across the nation,” says Colin Loweth, Ph.D. Loweth is associate director of project management at the Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics, and he will help oversee the Institute’s participation in the CBC.

The CBC works by providing drug discovery and chemical biology resources to any cancer researcher in the United States whose research has been accepted as a CBC discovery project into the (NExT) Program. 

“There might be a brilliant professor out there with an amazing new treatment approach for cancer and they’ve done all this great biology to find a target, but somebody has to do the chemistry to discover molecules that can be tested and brought to the clinic,” says Loweth. “That’s where we, as part of the Consortium, can come in and provide support.”

Once a drug discovery project is approved by NCI, CBC members submit proposals for activities and expertise their Institute can provide to help advance the project. This unique category of funding brings between two and four million dollars in additional funding to the Institute per year, according to Loweth.

“It’s really a win-win situation,” he says. “Our biologists and chemists participate in discovery research on exciting cancer targets, the researchers who proposed the concept get the help they need, and, most importantly, treatments make it to the clinic sooner.” 

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