Department of Health Presents Nearly $3.1 Million in Health Research Grants

Written by  Facing Cancer Together
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Aug. 14, 2012 Hummelstown – Pennsylvania Department of Health Executive Deputy Secretary Michael Wolf today presented nearly $3.1 million in Commonwealth Universal Research Enhancement Program, or CURE, grants to support three, two-year research projects focused on cancer treatment technologies.

clinical-trials-researchThe grant recipients are Apogee Biotechnology Corporation, Oncoceutics, Inc. and Penn State College of Medicine in collaboration with Keystone Nano, Inc.

The CURE program funds health research with the purpose of discovering new scientific knowledge to help improve the health of all Pennsylvanians.

These competitive grants focus on specific research priorities established and reviewed by the Department of Health in conjunction with the Health Research Advisory Committee, a panel made up of universities and research institutes.

The funds, allocated in the 2011-12 fiscal year, focus on projects that translate the information found within the human genome. The grants support research that commercializes and brings to market new, proven cancer diagnostics or therapeutics.

clinical-trials-beakersThe awards were presented to principal investigators from each facility:
Dr. Charles Smith, on behalf of Apogee Biotechnology Corporation;
Dr. Wafik S. El-Deiry, on behalf of Oncoceutics, Inc.;
Dr. Mark Kester, on behalf of Penn State College of Medicine for their respective projects.

Twelve projects statewide are receiving CURE grant awards totaling $15.3 million. Since the grant program’s inception, the Department of Health has awarded more than $750 million in CURE grants.

“The Department of Health believes in the proposals submitted and that the research will help improve public health and maintain Pennsylvania’s internationally recognized leadership in clinical and health services research,” said Wolf.

More information about the CURE program is found at the Department of Health’s website at 


Below is an overview of the projects and awards: 

Apogee Biotechnology Corporation: Development of ABC294640 for Combination Chemotherapy of Pancreatic Cancer ($832,608):
The project will complete preclinical studies and regulatory activities for a new drug, ABC294640. This drug is currently in phase I testing. It has received Orphan Drug designation from the FDA, and is being developed for use in the treatment of pancreatic cancer.

Oncoceutics, Inc.: Development and Commercialization of Novel Cancer Therapeutic TIC10 ($1,295,646):
The project will enable and complete clinical trials with the novel cancer antitumor agent TIC10 to improve treatment options and outcomes for cancer patients. This study will determine the toxicity and pharmacokinetic profile of TIC10 in humans to determine its viability as a cancer treatment.

Penn State College of Medicine: Therapeutic Delivery of siRNA Using Calcium Phosphate NanoJackets for Improved Cancer Treatment ($1 million):
In collaboration with Keystone Nano and Calvert Laboratories, the physical, chemical and biological properties of these nanocolloids will be evaluated and the studies will provide the data to support a preclinical package IND application to the FDA.


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