National Comprehensive Cancer Network

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NCCN Receives $4 Million in Oncology Research Funding from GlaxoSmithKline


NCCN recently received $4 million in the form of two research grants from GlaxoSmithKline to gain further insights into GSK2118436, a BRAF inhibitor, and GSK1120212, a MEK1 and MEK2 inhibitor, both promising therapies in the treatment of advanced melanoma. Investigators from NCCN Member Institutions are eligible to apply for the research funding.


FORT WASHINGTON, PA — The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) Oncology Research Program (ORP) has been awarded $4 million in the form of two research grants from GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to develop studies to scientifically evaluate and define GSK2118436, a BRAF inhibitor, and GSK1120212, a MEK1 and MEK2 inhibitor. Previous research has indicated that BRAF mutations are strong targets for therapies in the treatment of advanced melanoma.

These two pipeline drugs are of great interest to investigators at NCCN Member Institutions. Both research projects have the potential to drive new breakthroughs in the understanding of both drugs and translating that knowledge into improved treatments for patients with cancer, said Diane Paul, MS, RN, Vice President, NCCN ORP. We are excited about this opportunity to work with GSK on another research collaboration.

The first phase of the program will involve the establishment of Request for Proposals Development Teams for the two novel inhibitors to evaluate existing data and define the types of studies necessary to further evaluate the activity of both drugs.

GSK2118436 is an investigational drug that is orally bioavailable and inhibits BRAF. Activating mutations in BRAF are present in approximately 50 to 60 percent of melanoma and approximately 8 percent of all cancers. The mutation appears to have a direct role in activating the MAP kinase pathway, which controls processes such as cell proliferation, differentiation, survival, and apoptosis (cell death).

GSK1120212 is also an investigational drug that is orally bioavailable and inhibits MEK. MEK is a key component of the RAS/RAF/MEK/ERK signaling pathway that regulates cell growth. Constant and unregulated activation of this pathway has been implicated in many cancers. MEK 1/2 are thought to play a role in the activation of key signaling pathways that regulate cell growth. In BRAF mutant melanoma, MEK activation is a driver of the disease.

The NCCN ORP draws on the expertise of investigators at NCCN Member Institutions to facilitate all phases of clinical research. This research is made possible by collaborations with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies in order to advance therapeutic options for patients with cancer. The NCCN ORP will utilize the grant from GlaxoSmithKline to support investigator-initiated clinical and correlative studies at its NCCN Member Institutions. To date, this successful research model has received more than $34 million in research grants and provided 87 investigators with funding for clinical and correlative trials that have produced numerous publications in peer-reviewed journals.

About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), a not-for-profit alliance of 25 of the world's leading cancer centers, is dedicated to improving the quality and effectiveness of care provided to patients with cancer. Through the leadership and expertise of clinical professionals at NCCN Member Institutions, NCCN develops resources that present valuable information to the numerous stakeholders in the health care delivery system. As the arbiter of high-quality cancer care, NCCN promotes the importance of continuous quality improvement and recognizes the significance of creating clinical practice guidelines appropriate for use by patients, clinicians, and other health care decision-makers. The primary goal of all NCCN initiatives is to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of oncology practice so patients can live better lives. For more information, visit NCCN.org.

The NCCN Member Institutions are:

  • Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center at The Nebraska Medical Center
  • City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women's Cancer Center
    Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
  • Duke Cancer Institute
  • Fox Chase Cancer Center
  • Huntsman Cancer Institute at the University of Utah
  • Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center / Seattle Cancer Care Alliance
  • The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins
  • Robert H. Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of Northwestern University
  • Mayo Clinic Cancer Center
  • Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
  • Moffitt Cancer Center
  • The Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center - James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute
  • Roswell Park Cancer Institute
  • Siteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine
  • St. Jude Children's Research Hospital/The University of Tennessee Health Science Center
  • Stanford Cancer Institute
  • University of Alabama at Birmingham Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center
  • UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • University of Colorado Cancer Center
  • University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
  • Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital