The Community Foundation of Broward, AutoNation and the Royal Dames of Cancer Research donated $100,000 to NSU’s Rumbaugh-Goodwin Institute for Cancer Research to support further development of a new drug that will treat prostate, ovarian and colorectal cancers.
The drug is called JFD, an organic molecule that is antiangiogenic, meaning that it prevents blood flow to tumors and other cancer cells. Without blood flow, tumors and cancer cells are unable to receive the oxygen and nutrients required for growth.
The newest version of the drug is called JFD-WS. Preliminary testing has shown that it is absorbed into human tissue more effectively than previous versions, increasing its chances for success.
The donation will allow researchers to investigate if JFD-WS is safe to use in isolation and when paired with other cancer treatments.
According to the Royal Dames of Cancer Research, Inc., which exclusively raises funds for cancer research at RGI, when compared to other drugs, JFD is less expensive to manufacture, is stable in storage, is expected to be less toxic and is more effective against solid tumors.
Executive Director at RGI Appu Rathinavelu said JFD-WS works well in combination with anti-cancer drugs, such as Taxol, and is safer than other drugs currently available for treatment.
“If its therapeutic potential is established in humans, our drug can be very beneficial for treating breast and prostate cancers,” he said.
JFD is a product of the collaboration between RGI and the Georgetown University Lombardi Cancer Center and has been patented in both the United States and Japan since 2012.
Jacqueline Travisano, NSU’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, said the Royal Dames of Cancer Research, Inc. has been funding cancer research at RGI since its inception through proceeds from their fundraisers, including the annual Tiara Ball. At the 45th Tiara Ball in November 2014, AutoNation was the presenting sponsor and donated $50,000 to Royal Dames and RGI.
“The Community Foundation generously matched AutoNation’s donation of $50,000 to further RGI’s ability to make progress in its cancer research projects,” she said.
According to NSU’s Vice President of Advancement and Community Relations Jennifer O’Flannery Anderson, both the Community Foundation and AutoNation have been generous and long-time supporters of NSU. While the organizations typically sponsor and support scholarships and programs, this is the first time they are monetarily supporting cancer research at NSU.
“Their national philanthropic platform is cancer, so it is just wonderful that AutoNation was able to support the Royal Dames organization, which exists to support cancer research at RGI,” she said.
The Community Foundation of Broward provides leadership on community solutions by being a philanthropic advisory.
The Royal Dames of Cancer Research is a nonprofit organization focused on raising funds for the study and research of cancer at RGI, whose main goal is to develop newer cancer therapies.
Rathinavelu said that RGI is growing slowly and steadily since it merged with NSU in 1969.
“It should become one of the regionally recognized cancer research institutes in the country through its innovative research and discoveries,” he said.