Traversing the Valley of Death in Anticancer and Antibacterial Drug Discovery

Seminar series
Organic Colloquium
Tue, Jan 14 4:00pm
Young Hall 2033
Speaker Paul Hergenrother
University of Illinois
Department of Chemistry

Abstract: Only 1 in 20 anticancer compounds that begin human clinical trials will become an approved drug.  Many have pointed at the traditional development pathway -- whereby anticancer efficacy is assessed in rodent models, and the next efficacy assessment is in people -- as a major reason for this poor success rate.  We have been working to evaluate candidate compounds in pets with cancer, as a means to help these veterinary cancer patients that often have no other options and as a method to guide the selection of the human drug candidate.  In addition, we have been investigating compounds that act as activators (versus inhibitors) as a mechanism to selectively kill cancer cells.  The lecture will describe a new story from the lab, that of the discovery and rapid translation of a compound for ERa-positive breast cancers, and will also detail our work to synthesize complex and diverse compound from natural products and their utility in the identification of novel broad-spectrum antibiotics.