Burke, who was a professor at the UK College of Pharmacy, developed the drug with Dennis Curran, a chemistry professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Burke and Curran had worked together to develop the next generation of a class of anticancer drugs that include the currently used drugs topotecan (ovarian and lung cancer) and irinotecan (colon cancer). At the time of DB-67's initial development and testing, pharmaceutical company Novartis licensed the drug. But after Burke died, the company released its licensing of DB-67, leaving the drug with a dismal future.
However, as a pediatric oncologist and director of the Experimental Therapeutics Program at UK HealthCare's Markey Cancer Center, Dr. Jeffrey Moscow believed the drug had a future. With the enthusiastic support of Markey Cancer Center's director Dr. Alfred Cohen, Moscow put together a team of experts to complete all the necessary pre-clinical studies and to assemble the IND application package for the FDA so the drug could be used in a human clinical trial.
"Not many universities or cancer centers develop a new drug to the point of being able to test it in patients," Moscow said. "The UK Markey Cancer Center now has its own new and promising cancer drug."
Moscow said that while DB-67 is in the same class of other cancer-fighting drugs currently used, its structure is a bit different, making it unique and hopefully more potent. Pre-clinical testing of DB-67 showed that more of the drug's anti-cancer pr
Contact: Hollye Staley
University of Kentucky