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Craig Crews, PhD, receives NCI’s Outstanding Investigator Award

October 16, 2015
by Vicky Agnew

The National Cancer Institute has named Craig Crews, PhD, a recipient of its Outstanding Investigator Award. Crews, the L. B. Cullman Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, was one of 60 US scientists to receive the award, which brings $4.2 million over seven years to support his lab’s research.

Crews said he hopes to upend how cancer drugs are developed by using technology he’s created over 15 years to seek and destroy proteins that evade drugging.

“This award will help us change the current small-molecule drug paradigm that fails to target 75% of rogue proteins,” Crews said. “Instead, we propose to hijack the cells’ quality control machinery so that this new class of drugs can bind to and destroy these disease-causing proteins.”

If successful, Crews said he believes the process could offer a second chance for numerous drugs that looked promising but didn’t work because they couldn’t block the function of rogue proteins.

“Dr. Crews’ past research has resulted in the approval of a new FDA-approved medicine that is successfully treating cancer patients, and in collaboration with corporate partners he is developing additional innovative approaches to inactivate cancer-causing molecules,” said Daniel DiMaio, MD, PhD, Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Genetics and deputy director of Yale Cancer Center. “He is a wonderful example of a Yale Cancer Center member who has made basic discoveries in the laboratory and shepherded them all the way into the clinic.”

Submitted by Renee Gaudette on October 16, 2015