NCI-Designated Cancer Center

Director’s Statement
Garth Powis in lab

"Our goal is an increased translational focus on tailoring new cancer therapies to individual patients, thus enabling personalized medicine."

As an NCI-designated Cancer Center, we test new approaches in cancer research, recruit talented investigators, and operate scientific Shared Resources. These resources provide access to high-end technology, which substantially broadens the scope of questions that researchers can successfully address. At the national level, the Institute's Cancer Center represents one of only seven such basic science Cancer Centers sponsored by the NCI.

The need for improved cancer diagnosis and treatment is great. Cancer claims the lives of more than 500,000 Americans each year, with almost 1.5 million new cases of cancer diagnosed annually. At the same time, scientific advances over the past 30 years have resulted in enormous progress against cancer. The American Cancer Society recently reported that the nuber of cancer deaths dropped by 3,014 in 2004, despite an older and larger population. This followed a drop of 369 deaths from cancer in 2003, the first decline since nationwide data were first compiled 70 years ago.

We take great pride in the fact that ongoing research at our Cancer Center is yielding tangible medicinal benefits. Currently, two approved drugs and five experimental therapies for cancer in clinical trials can be traced to the work of Sanford Burnham Prebys scientists. Recently, the DNA-based drug that targets anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 gene, invented by SBP scientist Dr. John Reed, met its primary end-point in a randomized Phase III clinical trial, the first DNA-based drug ever to do so for a major systemic disease such as cancer.

The Cancer Center's chemical biology and drug discovery efforts have significantly benefited from the establishment of the Conrad Prebys Center for Chemical Genomics (Prebys Center) at the Institute. The Prebys Center is one of four national Comprehensive Centers chosen to be part of the Molecular Libraries Probe Production Centers Network (MLPCN). This national network, funded by NIH, is focused on discovering novel chemical probes to advance understanding of the biochemical pathways involved in cancer and other human diseases. Additionally, the Institute was recently selected as one of four Comprehensive Centers for the NCI Chemical Biology Consortium (CBC). Membership in the CBC places Sanford Burnham Prebys in a highly collaborative drug discovery partnership with the NCI and a network of academic and industry partners.

Garth Powis, D. Phil.
Center Director
Jeanne and Gary Herberger Leadership Chair in Cancer Research