Cures Within Reach for Cancer Team
Laura Kleiman, PhD
Executive Director, Cures Within Reach for Cancer; Scientific Research Director, cBio Center at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
Prior to launching Cures Within Reach for Cancer and working at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Laura was Project Manager at the non-profit GlobalCures, where she led all start-up activities for a multicenter Phase III cancer clinical trial. Laura earned her PhD in Computational and Systems Biology from MIT. She was an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellow at the Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, where she conducted translational cancer research. She has also performed research at Rutgers University and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Laura has authored peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters on understanding and treating cancer and has given talks internationally on her work.
Contact Laura: firstname.lastname@example.org
Dale Flanders, PhD
Director of Strategic Development, Cures Within Reach for Cancer
Dale first learned about repurposing of FDA-approved non-cancer drugs for cancer treatment through GlobalCures, and he is now committed to finding innovative approaches to their funding and development. Dale received his PhD in electrical engineering from MIT in 1978. He is a successful entrepreneur with a long track record of defining new businesses, raising capital, and building successful and profitable companies at the leading edge of technology. After working in research at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Dale joined Lasertron as the VP of Engineering and R&D and CTO, and as VP of Device Manufacturing. When Lasertron was eventually acquired by Corning, Dale left to found Axsun Technologies. At Axsun, he served as CEO until 2015 and raised over $150 million of investment. Axsun was acquired by a public company, Volcano Corp., in 2008 and Phillips acquired Volcano and Axsun in 2014. Today Axsun is a growing independent company owned by a private equity firm. Since leaving Axsun, Dale has acted as an adviser to and investor in various startup companies in the medical diagnostics and therapy areas. He is the author of more than 100 issued U.S. patents.
Contact Dale: email@example.com
Vincent DeVita, MD
Author of “The Death of Cancer” and Professor of Medicine at Yale Cancer Center; Formerly Director of the National Cancer Institute, Physician-in-Chief at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and President of the American Cancer Society
“I am happy to help Cures Within Reach for Cancer advance new cancer treatments based on repurposed generic drugs. Generics allow for more flexibility to optimize treatment protocols since they are already FDA approved and typically inexpensive, and possible side effects are well understood. This is especially important for combination therapies, which are complex to develop and costly. Compared to traditional drug development, it should be faster to get repurposed generics to patients who desperately need additional treatment options. Yet, today there is little off-label use and extremely limited funding for the Phase II/III clinical trials from government, cancer foundations, and industry. Even after successful definitive clinical trials, Cures Within Reach for Cancer and their partners will face an additional challenge of changing standard of care, which is usually spearheaded by pharmaceutical companies and is not straightforward for non-profits. I believe that if we can figure out how to improve the way we use the drugs and technologies we already have, we can cure more cancers or at least convert them into chronic, manageable diseases.”
David Frank, MD, PhD
Associate Professor of Medicine, Medical Oncology, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Harvard Medical School
"My laboratory is developing inhibitors of key signaling pathways that drive the malignant behavior of a cancer cell. While we are taking a number of paths to bring these drugs to clinical trials for cancer patients, it soon became apparent that generic drugs that had already been approved for other indications could be very effective at targeting these pathways. The fact that these drugs are already known to be safe at active doses allows us to tremendously accelerate their transition from the lab to the clinic. We have been fortunate to secure funding for small early phase clinical trials to initially evaluate these treatments. However, there are currently no funding mechanisms for the subsequent, larger clinical trials that are critical before these therapies could be used more broadly. As a medical oncologist, I see Cures Within Reach for Cancer as being instrumental in enabling these clinical trials, and filling an essential role for our patients."
Skip Irving, MBA
Member, Board of Directors, Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research; Managing Director, Stonecliff Advisors; Vice President, Planning, Noveome Biotherapeutics
"I have been working with emerging and established biotechnology and pharmaceutical companies and several of the leading not-for-profit disease foundations for the last 30 years to help them design and implement their drug development strategies. In the 10 years I have been associated with the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson's Research, the organization has grown dramatically and now funds nearly $80 million in Parkinson’s research. It has changed the paradigm for not-for-profit disease foundations and is a valuable resource for drug development companies and venture funds planning clinical trials for new Parkinson’s drugs. Cures Within Reach for Cancer has the potential for an equally compelling clinical impact. Rapidly advancing treatments for cancer through the repurposing of FDA-approved generic drugs will benefit patients through enhanced efficacy and lower cost of treatment. The data generated to date is impressive and comparable to novel drugs in clinical development. Our classic drug development paradigm does not incentivize the pursuit of repurposed molecules. I am delighted to support Cures Within Reach for Cancer, because, like the Michael J. Fox Foundation and other disease foundations, it expedites the development of entirely new treatment options for cancer patients."
David Sontag, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science and Institute for Medical Engineering and Science, MIT
“I am very supportive of Cures Within Reach for Cancer’s mission and am happy to provide advice as they develop their drug repurposing KnowledgeBase. My research group aims to transform healthcare using machine learning and artificial intelligence. Retrospective studies are becoming more common with the availability of electronic medical records and advances in data sciences, and they are generating a tremendous amount of new knowledge. For example, we are discovering that FDA approved non-cancer drugs may be beneficial cancer treatments. Cures Within Reach for Cancer plans to systematically identify publications related to repurposed generics for cancer (estimated to be around 10,000 papers), extract treatment and outcome information, and then organize the information so it can be useful for researchers, physicians, and patients. The clinical informatics and natural language processing communities have already built tools that could be 'repurposed' for this project with minimal effort.”
Bruce Bloom, JD, DDS
President and Chief Science Officer, Cures Within Reach
"Cures Within Reach is excited to partner with a stellar team of scientists, philanthropists, and businesspeople dedicated to leveraging drug repurposing to bring needed treatments to unresolved cancers, through the new Cures Within Reach for Cancer. Cancer is a disease that has always been amenable to repurposing, and there are a lot of generic drugs, used either alone or in combination with other therapies, that could help cancer patients. The more we can do to unearth these ideas and the information that supports them, and bring them forward to clinical practice - the goals of Cures Within Reach for Cancer - the sooner patients will have treatment alternatives that can improve their lives. I believe that this effort will lead to breakthroughs in cancer therapy."
Breast Cancer Survivor; Writer; Yoga, Meditation, and Livestrong Instructor
"I was diagnosed with Stage 2, Grade II ER/PR positive, HER2 negative breast cancer in 2015, and I subsequently had a double mastectomy. It wasn’t until several months after surgery that I discovered, through GlobalCures, that a one-time pre-surgical infusion of the NSAID ketorolac showed significant promise in reducing the risk of metastatic recurrence post-surgically. I also learned that, because this drug is generic, pharmaceutical companies are not motivated to fund the necessary clinical trials because they will not make enough profit from the sale of the drug for its new use to justify the expense of the trials. I work with cancer survivors in my Livestrong classes, and I am heartbroken every time I consider the number of people I know with metastases who might have been helped by treatments like ketorolac that were not available to them because of this funding problem – and I hope I will not become one of them. I’m optimistic that Cures Within Reach for Cancer will find a way to bring these drugs into clinical trials and make beneficial, low-toxicity treatments available to patients."
Lars and Dyanne Søraas
Patient Advocates and Lung Cancer Research Advocates
"When Dyanne was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer in 2015, we decided to think outside of the box and consider all possible treatment options. From reading many scientific and clinical papers, we found treatments that were not offered to Dyanne but seemed potentially very promising. Among these were some repurposed non-cancer generics which appeared like they might be effective, and have few side effects and low cost. We brought these papers to her oncologist and asked if it would be possible to get the drugs prescribed. The reply was that, although the early clinical data looked promising, the hospital would not support their use until large clinical trials had been conducted. We then investigated why these trials were never started and learned that it is because the treatments will not be profitable for pharmaceutical companies, so they do not want to fund the trials. It is still a mystery to us, however, why government-funded hospitals don’t do many more trials with such generic drugs. As a society, we have to find a solution to this problem so cancer patients worldwide can benefit from these very promising and inexpensive therapies. We wholeheartedly support Cures Within Reach for Cancer's ambitious goals to increase awareness of this gap in our drug development system and find innovative ways to advance these therapies."