The University of Arizona Cancer Center’s Therapeutic Development Program is led by William Montfort, PhD and Julie Bauman, MD, MPH.

The Therapeutic Development Program (TDP) oversees all stages of cancer drug discovery, development, and application from the laboratory to the clinic. The Program relies on a close interactions between basic scientists and physician investigators, ensuring a seamless translation of laboratory discoveries into clinical trials. The program leverages basic research expertise in the study of genetic, molecular, and immune pathways that drive cancer to grow, invade, metastasize, and evade the immune system. TDP features specialized capabilities in target discovery, molecular modeling, and chemical synthesis, predictive biomarkers, organoid and animal models, cellular therapy, and state-of-the-art clinical trials.

TDP activities are organized under three major themes:

  • Identify new molecules and targets for drug development 
  • Repurpose FDA approved drugs for novel cancer applications
  • Conduct investigator-initiated trials for mechanism and biomarker discovery

Program Goals

The scientific goal of the Therapeutic Development Program is to discover and develop drugs that expand available therapeutic options or enhance the efficacy of existing therapeutics. TDP partners with 14 multidisciplinary clinical research teams, including Early Phase Therapeutics and sub-specialty Disease-Oriented Teams, in order to provide cutting edge clinical trials to our patients in Southern Arizona and beyond. The clinical trials portfolio includes new drugs or combinations to target cancer or its tumor microenvironment. By identifying the genetic, molecular, and immune aberrations of an individual's cancer, investigators seeks to exploit the specific differences between cancer and normal tissues. This personalized approach, known as precision oncology, raises the promise of more effective and less toxic cancer treatments.