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The Center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has received a contract from SAIC-Frederick, Inc. to develop potential drug leads for treating renal cell carcinoma, the most common type of kidney cancer in adults.

The contract, which is part of the National Cancer Institute’s Chemical Biology Consortium program, will provide more than $843,000 over eighteen months to support research led by William Janzen and Kimryn Rathmell, MD, PhD. Janzen is the director of assay development and compound profiling at the CICBDD, while Rathmell is an associate professor in the UNC School of Medicine. Both are also members of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Rathmell’s laboratory recently identified an enzyme, Ror2, that is expressed in a large subset of renal cell carcinomas. Suppressing Ror2 restricts the ability of renal cancer cells to grow and migrate, Janzen says.

“Our goal in this project is to develop Ror2 inhibitors that will serve as drug leads, with the eventual aim of producing treatments for renal cell carcinoma,” he says.

“Renal cell carcinoma remains one of the most difficult cancers to manage in oncology because of its high level of primary resistance to cytotoxic chemotherapies. The disease in the metastatic setting is incurable, and we are in dire need of new, effective treatment options.”

The Chemical Biology Consortium program is administered by the National Cancer Institute at Frederick (NCI-Frederick), a government-owned, contract-operated Federally Funded Research and Development Center. SAIC-Frederick is the operations and technical support contractor for NCI-Frederick.

This project has been funded in whole or in part with Federal Funds from the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health, under Contract No. HHSN261200800001E to SAIC-Frederick, Inc. The content of this publication does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of the Department of Health and Human Services, nor does mention of trade names, commercial products, or organizations imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.