Backing winners in cancer research

Stem Cell Network – SCN (NCE)


Venture capitalists and major pharmaceutical companies have been jostling to cash in on Dr. Patrick Gunning’s discovery ever since he made the September 2013 cover of the American Chemical Society Journal. The University of Toronto researcher developed a drug that cures cancer in mice by disabling a cancer-promoting protein called STAT3. It has also killed cancerous cells in tumours extracted from humans. The research was supported through the Stem Cell Network’s Drug Discovery Program, which uses a Dragon’s Den-type process to support discoveries with the best chance of clinical success, but cut loose those that fail to hit certain milestones.

Patrick’s new class of STAT3 inhibitors are remarkably effective in multiple cancer models, and hold great promise for aggressive and treatment-refractory tumours such as glioblastoma. His success has been found in his quick ability to make meaningful modifications to drugs to enhance their functional tumour-disabling properties, and his obvious talent for multi-disciplinary collaboration. I look forward to hearing of his future progress with this exciting work.Dr. Sheila Singh, Pediatric Neurosurgeon, McMaster Children's Hospital