Areas of Focus | Innovative Therapies - NFCR

Innovative Therapies

Innovative Therapies

What are Innovative Therapies?

The cancer research field is filled with promising innovators looking for new and exciting ways to treat and prevent cancer, as well as improve conditions for patients during and after treatment.

Medical innovation is about experimentation and challenging the status quo. Sometimes that involves simply thinking outside the box and sometimes it means bucking conventional wisdom outright. Researchers are looking at innovative therapies that can improve the health, wellness and, ultimately, the chance of survival for patients.

NFCR Research Highlights

Since the late 1990’s with NFCR’s support, Dr. Yung-Chi Cheng and his team have been exploring the therapeutic properties of YIV906 (also known as PHY906 or KD018), a Chinese herbal medicine formula. They discovered that cancer treatment with YIV906, combined with chemotherapy, alleviates the unpleasant gastrointestinal side effects of chemotherapy for colon, rectal, pancreatic and liver cancer patients. Moreover, their research demonstrated that YIV906 also has its own, solo anti-tumor attributes. Years of NFCR support to Dr. Cheng’s laboratory efforts have led to this promising experimental therapeutic now being commercialized through the AIM-HI Translational Research Initiative. To learn more, click here.

If there is continued success in clinical trials, YIV906 could become one of the first FDA-approved oral herbal medicines for anti-cancer treatment.

NFCR-funded scientist Dr. Curt Civin discovered that malaria drugs could potentially be used for cancer patients. He found that artemisinins – a class of drugs with low toxicity that are known for successfully treating malaria – are also effective in killing acute myeloid leukemia (AML) cancer cells. Through research, he identified ART-838, a specific artemisinin compound that shows remarkable preliminary effectiveness against leukemia cells and works well in combination with established anti-leukemia drugs. In addition, the compound can be given orally and stays active in the bloodstream for a long time. Plus, it doesn’t appear to harm normal bone marrow cells, so it may prove to be an effective new treatment for AML patients.

NFCR support to Dr. Civin’s laboratory efforts is leading to this promising experimental therapeutic now being commercialized through the AIM-HI Translational Research Initiative. To learn more, click here.

The collaborative team of Dr. Paul Schimmel and Dr. Xiang-Lei Yang are experts in the study of the family of ancient enzymes called aminoacyl tRNA synthetases. The enzymes are a critical part of our genetic code as they a major player in the first step of protein synthesis in all living things. The scientists have discovered that the enzymes have other unexpected and vital biological properties. For example, one member of the enzyme family, SerRS, is also a potent suppressor of cancer progression and metastasis and may also activate the immune system to fight cancer. This critical area of research may lead to novel therapeutic applications for these ancient enzymes.

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