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Driving Drug Discovery

Driving Drug Discovery

Drug discovery is complicated, difficult work, but Kimmel Cancer Center experts are among the best at it. A distinction they have held for nearly four decades. In 1979, our cancer center was one of the first to earn a National Cancer Institute grant for new drug development, and today we remain one of the select few to maintain this support. From early work with cyclophosphamide to today’s breakthrough immunotherapies, our experts have a proven track record of success in translating laboratory and clinical discoveries into new cancer medicines for patients.

To ensure these advances continue in a new research environment, where the onus of early drug discovery and development has shifted from the pharmaceutical industry to the academic researcher, we are working to bring a reimagined drug discovery and development engine to the Kimmel Cancer Center.

Despite its difficulty, drug discovery thrives in our unique environment of collaboration and unparalleled expertise in virtually every area of bench-to-bedside cancer research. Discoveries in these fields are providing the cancer targets that are driving new drug development and precision medicine.

Our experts are identifying cancer-promoting molecular targets, inventing drugs that go after them, and developing tests that can identify patients who have cancers with the targeted defect. As a result, clinical trials are being designed to test new drugs only in the patients they are most likely to help—those whose cancers contain the defect that will respond to the drug. This allows clinical trials to progress more rapidly and new drugs to get approved faster and at a much lower cost.

As we near completion of the 10-story Skip Viragh Outpatient Cancer Building, we are poised to provide and move forward the most advanced and sophisticated cancer care. Our depth of expertise in cancer research and drug discovery and the most technologically advanced and patient-centered clinical facilities set the Kimmel Cancer Center apart as among the most talent rich and resource ready to develop and study new cancer drugs.

We are committed to providing the necessary drug development tools, resources and funding for our scientists and doctors, and more rapid access to new cancer drugs for patients.


William G. Nelson, M.D., Ph.D.
The Marion I. Knott Professor and Director
The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins

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