SRI International Receives $19.8 Million National Cancer Institute Contract for PREVENT Cancer Program | SRI International

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SRI International Receives $19.8 Million National Cancer Institute Contract for PREVENT Cancer Program

MENLO PARK, Calif.—March 10, 2016— SRI International has been awarded a contract of up to $19.8 million from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) PREVENT Cancer Preclinical Drug Development Program to support the development of potential cancer preventive agents or vaccines.  Under the contract, SRI Biosciences, a division of SRI International, will conduct preclinical studies to assess the efficacy of specific compounds or vaccines for preventing invasive-cancer development. Researchers will also identify biomarkers to help quantify the effectiveness of the experimental compounds and vaccines. 

The PREVENT Cancer Drug Development Program is an NCI-supported pipeline to bring new cancer PREVENTing interventions and biomarkers through preclinical development towards clinical trials. PREVENT enables the milestone-driven progression of novel cancer PREVENTive chemical or biological agents (singly or in combination), and biomarkers from the lab bench towards proof-of principle preclinical and clinical testing and registration or validation.

“The discovery and development of cancer preventative agents is an area that is underserved, primarily because the length of required clinical trials can be resource-prohibitive for many companies. Our work in biomarker discovery may provide validated surrogate endpoints that can help to shorten clinical trials in cancer prevention,” said Lidia Sambucetti, Ph.D., senior director of Cancer Biology, Center for Discovery Technologies, SRI Biosciences, and principal investigator for the NCI contract. “The PREVENT program is an opportunity to identify and advance novel strategies for cancer prevention.”

Under the three-year contract, SRI Biosciences will conduct detailed preclinical pharmacological studies to determine the efficacy of experimental agents, as well as test biomarkers that may parallel the effectiveness of response to these agents.

Under the PREVENT program, for efficacy and biomarker testing, two NCI task orders in the area of cancer prevention have already been awarded to SRI Biosciences: The first to develop a mesothelin-based vaccine against ovarian cancer, and another to develop novel models for testing preventative agents against ovarian cancer. 

For the ovarian cancer program, SRI Biosciences optimized a vaccine strategy designed to mount both antibody-based and cellular immunity against mesothelin tumor antigen. SRI researchers are currently testing whether the vaccine can help prevent ovarian cancer. In addition, SRI generated encouraging data supporting the development of a new model that will be used to test experimental drugs for ovarian cancer prevention.

“Efforts toward cancer prevention are the best long-term investments to protect the health of society as a whole while also reducing the healthcare costs,” said Nathalie Scholler, M.D., Ph.D., director Cancer Immunology, Center for Cancer, SRI Biosciences and lead on the ovarian cancer program.

SRI has broad experience with similar studies for NCI and for many other divisions of the National Institutes of Health, as well as for private sponsors. 

This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal funds from the National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services, under Contract No. HHSN261201500041I & HHSN261201200014I"

The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institutes of Health.

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