Virginia Commonwealth University

VCU Massey Cancer Center

Developmental Therapeutics

Program co-leaders
Steven Grant, M.D.
Steven R. Grossman, M.D., Ph.D.

The Developmental Therapeutics (DT) program has 42 members representing 13 departments and three schools.

The objectives of the DT program are to develop new insights into the mechanisms of action of new and established anti-cancer agents and to exploit these findings by translating them into the clinical arena in the form of innovative phase 1 and 2 trials. 

Scientific goals

  • Elucidate the mechanisms of action of new and existing therapeutic agents and approaches, and to seek opportunities for beneficial therapeutic interventions based upon promising discoveries in cancer biology emanating from the DT program and other Massey programs
  • Develop strategies capable of overcoming drug resistance of human malignancies to single targeted agents through the design of rational drug combinations that circumvent multiple compensatory survival pathways characteristic of cancer cells
  • Advance emerging concepts for the treatment of human cancers into early-phase clinical trials, focusing on concepts emanating from DT program member laboratories as well as those of other Massey programs

To advance these goals, research in the program has been organized into four interdigitating themes with the goal of maximizing fruitful intra- and inter-programmatic interactions. These research themes include: 

  1. Structural and computational biology and drug design
  2. Mechanism-of-action studies involving new and existing drugs
  3. Rational combinations of targeted agents in clinical and preclinical studies
  4. Translational implementation of emerging strategies into investigator-initiated trials

During 2011-2015, the DT program had a total of 696 publications, of which 22% were intra-programmatic and 24% were inter-programmatic.