The ultimate success story will be the availability of diagnostics and therapeutics to control cancer such that people with the disease will enjoy a normal quality of life and life-span. LICR will continue to strive for that goal until it is reached.
In the interim, below is a selection of LICR success stories: substantial contributions to the understanding of cancer onset and progression—including involvement in five of the putative ‘24 Milestones in Cancer Research’—and the identification and characterization of new tools and targets for prospective and actual prognostic, diagnostic and therapeutic modalities.
- EGFR and Antibody 806—Innovative work by LICR investigators in the analysis of EGFR over-expression, which is present in half of all cancers with an epithelial origin, led to the generation of 806, the first targeted antibody to recognize a protein that is over-expressed but not mutated. The antibody is important because of its unique mode of action and the advantage this provides as a potential cancer therapy.
- Angiogenesis and VEGFs—LICR investigators discovered four of the five VEGF proteins and the VEGFR-3 receptor, which are central to angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis, the formation of blood and lymphatic vessels, respectively. Cancer cells induce angiogenesis and lymphangiogenesis to enable tumor growth and metastasis. Inhibitors and activators of the LICR-discovered VEGFs are now in commercial preclinical development and clinical trials as potential therapies for cancer and vasculature diseases (stroke and the unwanted blocking of blood vessels after surgery), respectively.
- PI3K Research—LICR investigators translated their pioneering PI3K laboratory research into the development of small molecule inhibitors to block the PI3K pathway, the most frequently disrupted signaling pathway in cancer. These inhibitors are now in clinical trials for potential treatment of cancer and rheumatoid arthritis
- G250: Diagnosis & Therapy—LICR led and funded clinical development of the G250 antibody, which specifically targets a molecule on kidney cancer cells. The antibody is now in late-stage clinical trials for two applications: the diagnosis and therapy of clear cell renal carcinoma, the most common form of kidney cancer.
- GM-CSF—The first discovery by LICR investigators to make it to commerical application was GM-CSF, a molecule that stimulates the production of white blood cells. GM-CSF is given to cancer patients following chemotherapy to boost the immune system against infection.