The primary vision of the Auckland Cancer Society Research Centre (ACSRC) is to improve cancer therapy, not only through
new drug development but also through gaining a better understanding of cancer biology.
The ACSRC is at the forefront of drug discovery and development, with
eight novel anti-cancer drugs from the research programme being evaluated in clinical trials, both in NZ and internationally. Among these drugs is the anti-leukaemic
drug, amsacrine, an
important member of the topoisomerase class of anti-cancer drugs, Vadimezan (DMXAA),
a drug acting
on tumour blood vessels, and PR-104, a drug acting on oxygen starved areas of tumours.
ACSRC researchers also synthesised and contributed to the development of canertinib,
a drug inhibiting cancer cell signalling pathways.
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Eight anti-cancer drugs
Today, the ACSRC is a large multidisciplinary group of over 80 staff, including:
chemists, molecular and cellular biologists, pharmacologists, and clinicians. Their combined commitment to the
centre's vision is demonstrated through the publication
of nearly 1,000 scientific papers and the filing of more than
As genomics (the study of genes and their regulation) and proteomics (the study
structure and function) begins to dominate drug design, the ACSRC is moving to meet
this challenge with
novel approaches to drug development.
The ACSRC is
as a centre of excellence and has established links with many academic and commercial groups worldwide to further advance its
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The ACSRC was recently a successful partner in an application to set
up the Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery in the University of Auckland. This will
bring the ACSRC into closer relationships with existing bioinformatics, genomics and structural
biology groups within the University of Auckland, helping to bring these interdisciplinary skills to its
drug discovery programme.
Centre for Molecular Biodiscovery
Research initiated in the centre has also become the founding technology for two
University of Auckland start-up companies, Proacta Inc.
(San Diego and Auckland based) and Pathway Therapeutics Ltd (Melbourne and Auckland
The ACSRC is one of the few academic
centres in the world to achieve real successes
in the development of drugs for clinical
use. This is accomplished
through broad technical expertise, diverse funding sources and a continual focus on
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Read more about our Funding sources for