Phase I: Transforming Dust to Discovery
The pathway from discovery to investigational new drug just got shorter at the Harper Cancer Research Institute. Due to the generous benefaction of the Harper Family Foundation, the lower level of Harper Hall is undergoing a transformation from a cavernous dirt-floored shell into a state-of-the-art Center for Investigational Medicine.
The Center for Investigational Medicine will fill a critical unmet need to combine ongoing efforts in drug discovery at the Warren Family Center for Drug Discovery and Development, translational oncology research at the Harper Cancer Research Institute, and imaging technologies at the Notre Dame Integrated Imaging Facility. Once it is fully operational, the Center will expedite translation of basic research findings toward clinical trials by providing in vivo models of human cancer for testing of investigational new drugs, drug formulations, combination therapies, imaging agents and imaging modalities, and biomarker validation.
“A major goal of the Center for Investigational Medicine is to remove barriers between basic discovery research and translation into clinical care” said Sharon Stack, Kleiderer-Pezold Professor of Biochemistry and Ann F. Dunne & Elizabeth Riley Director of the Harper Cancer Research Institute. “Currently an investigator must interface with multiple different core facilities to execute a pre-clinical cancer therapeutic study. By offering an integrated approach to pre-clinical testing, we hope to use the resulting efficacy data to transition promising lead compounds to human clinical trials.”
The Center for Investigational Medicine space was formally dedicated on November 20, 2021 at a ceremony attended by Besty and Chris Murphy of Omaha, NE, as representatives of the Harper Family Foundation. The Prayer of Dedication, offered by Father James Foster, C.S.C, M.D, Associate Dean of the Notre Dame College of Science, reminded attendees that “As a means of doing good in this world, there is no greater force than those who dedicate their lives to performing groundbreaking research and clinical trials within these walls, to end the suffering that cancer brings to patients and their families.”
Phase II of the project will include equipping the imaging suite and staffing the Center.