Established in 2000 through a National Institutes of Health Center of Biomedical Research Excellence (COBRE) grant, the Center for Cancer Experimental Therapeutics (CCET) brings together researchers from the University of Kansas Lawrence campus, Kansas State University and the University of Kansas Medical Center. The Center combines the resources and faculty of Kansas' institutions to create the infrastructure needed to pursue cancer-related research and experimentation at the interface between chemistry and biology. The CCET works to identify novel bioactive compounds that will be useful basic biomedical research tools and potential therapeutic agents. Scientists from the participating schools will fight cancer through research projects focusing on specific types of cancer and the discovery of new anti-cancer drugs and therapies.
Phase I (2000-2005) focused on developing research infrastructure and providing junior investigators with formal mentoring and research project funding to help them acquire preliminary data and successfully compete for independent research grant support. Phase II (2006-2010) was intended to strengthen the center through further improvements in research infrastructure and continuing development and support of a critical mass of investigators with shared scientific interests. The grant placed an emphasis on junior faculty to develop and hone their research programs and partnered them with established, active, senior faculty who served as mentors. At any given time, a total of 37 faculty and more than 60 researchers have been supported by this grant annually. Additional funding in support of the grant's efforts was supplied by the University of Kansas and the Kansas Technology Enterprise Corporation.
The former principal investigator of the grant, Dr. Gunda Georg, was awarded two consecutive five-year (2000-2010), $10 million grants. Leadership of the grant was passed to Dr. Barbara Timmermann in January 2007 when Dr. Georg assumed the chair of the Department of Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Minnesota.
COBRE Phase III
The NIH National Institute of General Medical Science's objectives for the COBRE phase III (2010-2015) are to (1) provide support for maintaining COBRE research cores developed during phases I and II that are essential for the continuing conduct of basic, clinical, translational research, and/or community based research at the institution, and (2) sustain a collaborative, multidisciplinary research environment by providing support for research pilot projects and mentoring and training components. Our emphasis is now focused on continued development of our two core laboratories, High Throughput Screening and Synthetic Medicinal Chemistry.
The grant also provides funds for Pilot Projects for up to $125,000 total for two years. Funding is dependent on the quality of the research proposals, investigator's needs, and the availability of funds.
Strong scientific proposals at the cutting edge of cancer research, interactions among investigators at the interface of chemistry and biology, along with a strong mentoring aspect, will help facilitate the ongoing efforts of the NCI-designated Cancer Center at the University of Kansas Medical Center.