Strategic Research Investments

Pelotonia Dollars Support Long-Lasting Strategic Initiatives

The OSUCCC – James invests substantial Pelotonia funds in large-scale initiatives designed to have a longterm impact on cancer research and patient care. Here are two of the largest investments of this type that have been supported by Pelotonia to date.

Drug Development Institute – As the foundation for new cancer treatments, promising laboratory discoveries made by OSUCCC – James researchers must enter a “drug development process”—a myriad of synchronized activities that need to be completed before a new drug can be marketed.

Typically, these activities are in the purview of pharmaceutical companies that specialize in taking ideas from the laboratory through product development, manufacturing, review by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), and clinical trials involving patients. But thanks to the support of Pelotonia, the Harry T. Mangurian Jr. Foundation and other philanthropic sources, Ohio State has established a Drug Development Institute (DDI) in which a team of experts is dedicated to steering discoveries through the preclinical drug development process.

Pelotonia funds support such project costs as research reagents, cellular assays, chemical manufacturing and specialized analytics. The funds are used to build value into DDI-invested projects.

Led by Jeff Patrick, PharmD, the DDI is a biotech-like institute staffed by scientists who have worked in the pharmaceutical industry and have diverse experience in bringing new therapies to market. An external advisory board provides scientific, clinical and strategic guidance. The board consists of pharmaceutical industry executives and expert OSUCCC – James physicianscientists. The DDI has a cancer-focused portfolio and continuously evaluates new projects. To date, it has evaluated more than 100 potential projects for investment and is currently managing seven.

Digital Pathology – An accurate and timely diagnosis is the first step in every cancer patient’s treatment. Pathologists traditionally have placed diseased tissue on glass slides and examined them under a microscope, but slides are difficult for pathologists to share with colleagues and have other problems as well.

In 2017, the FDA approved digital pathology for use in primary cancer diagnosis. Digital pathology takes tissues mounted on glass slides, scans them bit by bit and digitally knits the individual pictures together to make one highly detailed image. This virtual image is paired with associated clinical information to quickly give pathologists an integrated picture of each patient’s unique cancer so optimum therapy can be delivered sooner.

Moreover, this technology enables pathologists to perform tests and other diagnostics that are not possible with glass slides, and the digital images can be shared with experts worldwide. The OSUCCC – James is implementing a digital pathology service led by Anil Parwani, MD, PhD, MBA, through which all patient pathology slides are being digitized, along with those of the past seven years.

Pelotonia dollars are contributing to this effort by helping to create a digital archive of past pathology specimens and their associated clinical data for use by researchers. The specimens and information in the archive will be “de-identified” (containing no identifying patient information) and made available to cancer investigators anywhere in the world.

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