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National, Local Science Leaders Take Up Cancer Treatment Development Challenges At KC Conference


Kansas City, MO – Government, industry, and academic leaders are in Kansas City today to address some of the emerging challenges in developing new cancer treatments.

According to Dr. Roy Jenson, director of KU's Cancer Center, universities have typically focused on basic scientific research. They've looked to better understand fundamental principles about the world without much direct application. Pharmaceutical and venture capital companies oftentimes then take those ideas and translate them into new drugs and therapies. They do so through an extensive pre-clinical and clinical trial process.

Dr. Jenson says this discovery and development model is beginning to break down as drug development becomes more advanced and expensive.

"You can get funding to identify the ideas and you can get funding from the big pharmaceutical companies to do later phase clinical trials, but the pre-clinical development studies are very difficult to fund," Dr. Jenson says.

Dr. Jenson says today's conference at the Kauffman Foundation will look at how academic institutions can be more involved in turning those basic ideas into new cancer therapies. He says that means partnering more with private companies, but he also says the funding mechanisms and potential conflicts of interest must be further addressed.

The all-day event will feature top science officials, including National Institutes of Health Director, Francis Collins, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, and Food and drug administration Commissioner Margaret Hamburg.

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