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Cancer Center receives $6.5 million to test, develop new cancer drugs

The UC Davis Cancer Center has received a $6.5 million award from the National Cancer Institute to offer innovative new therapies for people with cancer.

The five-year award will fund research of anti-cancer drugs in phase II clinical trials. Phase II trials test the safety and effectiveness of treatments, many of which have benefited people with cancer but which may not have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Studies are performed under the auspices of the California Cancer Consortium, a collaborative, NCI-funded group consisting of the UC Davis Cancer Center, City of Hope National Medical Center and the University of Southern California Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Since the California Cancer Consortium's inception six years ago, more than 1,000 patients have participated in research studies sponsored by the group. Many have benefited from these groundbreaking studies by extending their survival and improving their quality of life while battling cancer.

David Gandara, a professor of medicine at the UC Davis School of Medicine and Medical Center and associate director of clinical research for the UC Davis Cancer Center, is principal investigator of the program.

"This award allows us to offer more effective and less toxic therapies for cancer, including targeted biological treatments that modify cancer genes," he said. "These will be available to consortium patients years before they are available to the general public."

UC Davis' award is the largest of the eight contracts awarded by the NCI's Cancer Therapy Evaluation Program this year and is the only one given to an institution on the West Coast. The evaluation program oversees clinical research programs nationwide in an effort to expedite investigational therapies considered interesting, promising, and novel.

Because the award requires that researchers demonstrate the biological effectiveness of new drugs, more than 50 clinicians, pathologists, molecular biologists and pharmacologists will participate in designing and conducting cancer studies.


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Louise Chow, a senior scientist at the University of Alabama Cancer Center, was the keynote speaker at the UC Davis Cancer Center's annual research symposium, which took place in October.