Discovery in Action
Following in the footsteps of Basic Sciences Professor and Nobel Laureate Stanley Cohen, whose discovery of the epidermal growth factor led to over 30 new drugs to treat cancer, our researchers strive to turn their discoveries into innovations every day. Just since 2000, they have filed patent applications on 140 new inventions, and 63 of these have yielded one or more issued patents. The Vanderbilt Center for Neuroscience Drug Discovery (VCNDD) is responsible for about 50% of this activity. The VCNDD combines fundamental studies of brain physiology with the techniques of modern drug discovery to solve high-risk problems in the quest for better drugs to treat a wide range of neurological diseases, including depression, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease.
Their work has produced new drug candidates that will soon be entering clinical trials. A new program in cancer drug discovery is showing similar promise, with patent applications for the discovery of inhibitors of cancer-causing proteins that the pharmaceutical industry had classified as “undruggable”. These are just two examples of the many exciting innovations that have resulted from the discoveries in the Vanderbilt Basic Sciences.