Researchers in the Developmental Therapeutics Program focus on identifying new, more effective cancer treatments. In many cases, these treatments also have fewer side effects than standard therapies.

The Developmental Therapeutics Program conducts research on all three Mayo Clinic campuses — Scottsdale, Ariz.; Jacksonville, Fla.; and Rochester, Minn. The program brings together investigators from a variety of disciplines who focus on research in four areas:

  • Clinical trials of new agents. These early clinical trials assess the efficacy and safety of the next generation of anti-cancer drugs. Findings are eventually translated into clinical practice.
  • Pharmacogenetics. Pharmacogenetics researchers study two aspects of individual variation in response to drugs: drug effects on tumors and adverse drug reactions. Findings help researchers develop treatments tailored for individual patients.
  • Signaling pathways. These are biochemical reactions within cells that contribute to cancer development, cancer cell survival and proliferation. By studying these signaling pathways, investigators hope to better understand what distinguishes cancer cells from normal cells, thereby identifying differences that will help them develop new anti-cancer agents.
  • Small molecule inhibitors. These are chemicals that disrupt the signaling pathways implicated in turning normal cells into cancer or contributing to resistance to chemotherapy. Researchers are studying small molecule inhibitors that trigger cancer cell death or make cancer cells more sensitive to existing chemotherapeutic agents.


The Developmental Therapeutics Program has two co-leaders: