Compute Canada User Artem Cherkasov Discovers Potential Treatment for Advanced Prostate Cancer


A potential new treatment for prostate cancer was developed by researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the Vancouver Coastal Health Research Institute by exploiting  advanced research computing and expertise provided by Compute Canada. The breakthrough is now being licensed to the pharmaceutical company Roche, marking this the largest licensing agreement in the UBC’s history.

Under the terms of the agreement with Roche, UBC and VCHRI receive an upfront payment and up to $141.7 million US in milestone payments if the drug moves through pre-clinical and clinical trials, regulatory approval and meets sales targets, and then royalties thereafter.

Developed by a research team led by Dr. Artem Cherkasov and Dr. Paul Rennie, the potential treatment is designed to outsmart the cancer that has  a become resistant to current treatments. This new drug attacks receptor that promote tumour growth by binding itself to a very specific bit of DNA. In turn, any changes occurring through mutation would render itself useless, offering hope that a drug designed to exploit it could be effective for a long time.

“The success of our research program was effectively backed by the modern computing facilities provided by Compute Canada,” said Artem Cherkasov. “Using computer simulations, we sometimes go through 50 million compounds to find a molecule that will seat in a precise and accurate way.”

UBC currently generates about $7 million a year from 300 active licences, money that is split between the university, its researchers and partner institutions.

Read the complete release on the UBC website.

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