Developmental Therapeutics Program

Developmental therapeutics incorporates two closely related disciplines: experimental therapeutics and clinical therapeutics. Clinical therapeutics is focused on translating an experimental finding into human cancer trials. The latter can also span the range of studies from mechanism through efficacy but is carried out in human material.

Experimental Therapeutics - Drug Discovery and Drug Development: The need for new and effective anticancer drugs is critical given the paucity of drugs active against the major solid tumors in people. Consequently, the overall goal of this program is first drug discovery and then the development of new anticancer drugs with solid tumor selectivity from lead extracts.

Drug discovery and drug development


  • Test natural extracts from sources such as plants, sponges, sponge-associated fungi, cyanophytes and marine microalgae for candidate anti-cancer therapies
  • Fractionate extracts to the pure active compounds
  • Process lead compounds through a drug development paradigm to determine whether they have clinical potential
  • Define the in vitro IC50 values and concentration-survival clonogenic studies for a given pure compound candidate
  • Formulate the compound for intravenous administration
  • Define the in vivo maximum tolerated dose is defined for subsequent pharmacokinetic studies
  • Perform pharmacokinetic studies (plasma and tumor levels) to determine whether target levels of drug are achievable, which is then the basis for advancing preclinical trials
  • Regulatory development and subsequent clinical trials through collaboration with either a small business or pharmaceutical company

Clinical therapeutics - radiation oncology

Radiation Oncology studies at JFCI include Phase I/II protocols focused on new drugs and treatment approaches being developed internally as well as in collaboration with the NCI, Cooperative Study Groups and Pharmaceutical and small biotech companies.


  • Radiosensitization using a novel three-pronged gene therapy approach (Adenovirus, suicide genes and chemotherapy, and radiation)
  • Mitigation of normal tissue by minimizing reactive oxygen species with drugs such as the angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor
  • Improve radiation therapy by optimum implementation of three-dimensional conformal therapy

Molecular pathology


  • Define a multivariable, comprehensive, genome-wide molecular blueprint of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC) integrated with clinical risk factors in order to refine patient diagnosis and prognosis to aid in the clinical management of patients at the earliest disease stages
  • Examine whether race/ethnicity outcomes are influenced by the molecular circuitry that programs the malignant behavior of the cancer cell in HNSCC using ancestry informative markers
  • Identification of molecular markers and their interaction with other epidemiologic risk factors that can serve as risk indicators for subsequent development of breast cancer among women with benign breast disease
  • Identify an informative set of specific genetic alterations that underlie the pathogenesis of disease progression in breast cancer

See member profiles for comprehensive research interests

Leader and Clinical Co-Leader

  • Brown, Stephen, Ph.D.
  • Wang, Ding, M.D.

Research members

  • Barton, Ken, Ph.D.
  • Chetty, Indrin, Ph.D.
  • Glide-Hurst, Carri, Ph.D.
  • Giri, Shailandra, Ph.D.
  • Freytag, Svend, Ph.D.
  • Gautam, Subhash, Ph.D.
  • Kim, Jae Ho, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Rattan, Raman, Ph.D.
  • Valeriote, Fred, Ph.D.
  • Worsham, Maria, Ph.D.
  • Zhong, Hualiang, Ph.D.

Clinical members

  • Ajlouni, Munther, M.D.
  • Elshaikh, Mohamed, M.D.
  • Kim, Jae Ho, M.D., Ph.D.
  • Movsas, Ben, M.D.
  • Ryu, Samuel, M.D.
  • Walker, Eleanor, M.D.