Dana-Farber is a global leader in drug discovery, playing a critical role in the development of more than half of all cancer drugs approved by the FDA in the past 5 years. Our pioneering programs in cancer chemical biology and cancer biology give us the unique ability to discover and test prototype drugs and match patients with medicines that target vulnerabilities specific to their individual tumors. The development of these targeted therapies is one of the most important advances in cancer care over the past 20 years.
Yet many cancer-causing proteins are not susceptible to drugs designed in the usual way. Modern targeted cancer drugs are small organic compounds that bind to a faulty protein and mess up how it works. In these cases, the proteins they target have crevices for the drug to fit in, like a key in a lock. Proteins that have these accessible “key” holes in them are considered “druggable,” because drugs can often be made to stop their destructive behavior. However, many of the most important proteins involved in cancer — proteins that drive some of the most common cancers — don’t have this preferred “keyhole” structure, so they’ve been labeled as “undruggable” by pharmaceutical companies.
But we don’t accept that. More than 75 years ago, our founder, Dr. Sidney Farber, said that he “never accepted the incurability of cancer,” and today, Dana-Farber doesn’t accept that cancer-causing proteins are truly undruggable. Dana-Farber is well positioned to continue our leading-edge discovery and address these so-called “undruggable” targets for our patients, to ultimately defy and defeat cancer.
Now, more than ever, we need the life-changing partnership of our donor community to help us develop powerful new drugs, faster than ever before. Our goal is to raise $130M, which will help us develop 3 to 5 new drug candidates each year—offering hope to adults and children with rare and difficult-to-treat cancers. Together, we can develop next-generation cancer drugs that save lives.
If we don’t do this, it’s likely nobody else will.
For more information or questions, please contact Mark Veligor.