What does it take to get to that moment in a clinic when a doctor gives a patient a compound never before used in modern medicine? The story of Minnelide, an investigational drug for pancreatic cancer patients now in a Phase IA clinical trial at the University of Minnesota, illustrates just how complex and exhilarating that journey can be.
“What we did here with Minnelide, we did at the speed of light,” says Gunda Georg, director of the College of Pharmacy’s Institute for Therapeutics Discovery and Development and a member of the Masonic Cancer Center. “Going from drug design to clinical trial in just five years is almost unheard of. Ten years is more typical.”
While Georg played a key role, the Minnelide team stretched across campus and beyond, encompassing laboratory investigators, veterinarians, clinical physicians, attorneys, administrators, philanthropists … the group would need a pretty big stage if they all gathered together.
“Each person has their own core area of expertise,” says Georg, “but bring them all together, and you can do powerful things.”