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PharmaVOICE Editors' Blog

Friday, February 7, 2014

Introducing Innovator’s Corner


PharmaVOICE Magazine
by Denise Myshko

With the February issue of PharmaVOICE, we launched a new regular column: Innovator’s Corner. In this column, we will take a look at the new research, technologies, and discoveries that have the potential to be disruptive innovations in their area.

In the February issue, we highlight Dr. Ross Cagan’s work to create a new method for drug discovery. He has developed a more efficient screening process — by using fruit flies — that has the potential to lead to better classes of drugs. Dr. Cagan is a professor in the department of development and regenerative biology, and associate dean, graduate school of biological sciences at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He is also co-founder of Medros Inc., a contract discovery company.

Icahn School of Medicine
Dr. Ross Cagan
Dr. Cagan has developed models of diseases, such as diabetes and breast, lung and colorectal cancers in fruit flies, and he is using these models as a way to screen for new therapeutics. The biggest advantage of using flies instead of traditional cell screening, he says, is having the ability to do whole animal screening, which can lead to a different class of drugs that can address the complexity of human disease.
“What flies allow you to do is take advantage of a century of tool building and embrace the new genomics,” he says.

Dr. Cagan also started in July 2013 the Mount Sinai Center for Personalized Cancer Therapeutics (CPCT). The goal of the Center is to create novel cancer treatments that are based on a patient’s own cancer genome. Dr. Cagan, through the Centers, creates a fly with the same cancer as the patient. Robotics then screen thousands of drug combinations, and  use each patient’s fly line to develop a customized treatment for that patient.

If you know of any researchers or companies that are doing innovative or creative research, please email me at dmyshko@pharmavoice.com.

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