National Comprehensive Cancer Network

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NCCN Member Institution Receives $8.95 Million Drug Discovery Grant from NCI

Tampa, FL (May 16, 2007) – The H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute has been awarded an $8.95 million grant from the National Cancer Institute. The long-term goal of research being conducted through the grant is the discovery of novel drugs for the treatment of cancer based on disrupting aberrant signal transductions circuits in human tumors.

“At this time in history, a project of this caliber is considered a monumental accomplishment,” said Said Sebti, Ph.D., program leader of the Drug Discovery Program and principal investigator on the grant.

The five year grant will cover five projects and three cores or shared facilities. The cores include administration overseen by Sebti, high throughput drug screening overseen by Wayne Guida, Ph.D. and chemistry, overseen by Harshani Lawrence, Ph.D. Each of the five projects is lead by two researchers: a biologist and a chemist.

  • Jiandong Chen, Ph.D. and Mark McLaughlin, Ph.D. will develop small molecules to disrupt mdmx binding to p53
  • Srikumar Chellappan, Ph.D. and Nicholas Lawrence, Ph.D. will identify Raf/Rb association inhibitors
  • Said Sebti, Ph.D. and Mark McLaughlin, Ph.D. will develop proteasome antagonists
  • Hong-Gang Wang, Ph.D. and Mark McLaughlin, Ph.D. will identify Bcl family antagonists
  • Jerry Wu, Ph.D. and Nicholas Lawrence, Ph.D. will develop SHP2 phosphatase inhibitors

The project’s central hypothesis is that disruption of these circuits will induce apoptosis (cell death) and inhibit malignant transformation.

Researchers will work to develop drugs that will help break down the hallmarks of cancer which include: uncontrolled cell division, resistance to tumor apoptosis, invasion and metastasization and angiogenesis, the formation of new blood vessels, especially blood vessels that supply oxygen and nutrients to cancerous tissue.

About H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute

Located in Tampa, Florida on the University of South Florida campus, H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute ( is the only Florida-based cancer center with the NCI designation as a Comprehensive Cancer Center for its excellence in research and contributions to clinical trials, prevention and cancer control. Moffitt currently has 15 affiliates in Florida, one in Georgia and two in Puerto Rico. Additionally, Moffitt is a member of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network, a prestigious alliance of the country’s leading cancer centers, and is listed in U.S. News & World Report as one of America’s Best Hospitals for cancer. Moffitt’s sole mission is to contribute to the prevention and cure of cancer.


Michelle Foley
Public Information Officer
H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center & Research Institute
12902 Magnolia Dr., MBC-PR
Tampa, FL 33612-9497
Ph: (813) 745-1505
Cell: (813) 484-1237
Fax: (813) 745-1380 (NOTE NEW E-MAIL)

About the National Comprehensive Cancer Network

The National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®), a not-for-profit alliance of 27 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

The NCCN Member Institutions are:

  • Fred & Pamela Buffett Cancer Center
  • Case Comprehensive Cancer Center/University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center and Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute
  • 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 Comprehensive Cancer Center
  • 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 Rogel Cancer Center
  • The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
  • University of Wisconsin Carbone Cancer Center
  • Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center
  • Yale Cancer Center/Smilow Cancer Hospital