TrialSite News recently covered a significant breakthrough led by Virginia Commonwealth University, Massey Cancer Center researchers. We reported VCU uncovered a novel combination of drugs may be effective against acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in preclinical models. The findings were most recently published in the Journal Cancer Research and could point investigators to new and improved treatments for not only AML but also other hematologic malignancies.

Massey physician/investigator Steven Grant, MD has led the effort, finding that combining the existing drug venetoclax with an class of agents known as PI3K inhibitors leads to a synergistic number of interactions in AML cells stemming from interruption of the function of BCL-2 proteins and triggering of cell death. Note that BCL-2 proteins help regulate a form of cell suicide known as apoptosis.

Ventoclax is manufactured by American pharma AbbVie and co marketed by them and Genentech (part of the Roche Group).  VCU Massey Cancer Center leads research efforts to explore cures for deadly diseases such as leukemia.  A national leader, they are a prestigious National Cancer Institute (NCI) designated site since 1975.  They play an important role in the leadership and shaping of the United States’ cancer research agenda. They seek to eliminate the suffering and death caused by cancer.

Their investigational teams of researchers and physician-scientists conduct lab, translational, clinical and population sciences research to uncover improved ways to prevent, diagnose, treat and control cancer.  Nearly 205 of their researchers are members of their preeminent research membership program; a program for those with primary academic interests related to cancer.   Core areas of focus include:

They are a national leader in clinical trial participation—offering patients access to the latest advanced treatments for more than 20 types of cancer.  Their Goodwin Research Laboratory, an 80,000 square-foot cancer research center, is equipped with state-of-the-art labs and cleanrooms to support ongoing investigations.

Their Clinical Trial Office offers central management and oversight of the coordination, facilitation and reporting of VCU Massey Cancer Center’s clinical trials; also offered are supports for quality assurance mechanisms. The shared resource gets mobilized with the Biostatistics Shared Resource, Protocol Review and Monitoring Committee, Data and Safety Monitoring Board, Cancer Informatics Core and Administration Shared Resource.  The Clinical Trials Office consists of the following:

  • Director
  • 10 research teams (nine discipline-oriented and one geographic)
  • Database management
  • Investigator Services including:
    • Development and management of sponsor relations (grants, contracts, compliance)
    • Compliance with internal and external regulatory authorities (PRMC, IRB, NIH, CTEP, FDA, etc.)
    • Communications
    • Continuing education with emphasis on evolving practice and regulatory standards
    • Research nursing and data management oversight
    • Protocol-specific research nursing and data management

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