In the quest to improve human health, researchers are actively developing new drugs to treat diseases like cancer and diabetes, as well as to treat the symptoms of those ailments and the side effects of the therapies themselves. But the road from idea to drug approval is a long one, and can involve years of both preclinical and clinical trials to assess the safety and efficacy of the drug.
To assist in this endeavor and to hopefully speed up the process, the City of Hope has established a robust drug discovery and development pipeline that provides researchers with all the expertise they need to bring their ideas to reality.
The City of Hope Analytical Pharmacology Core Facility (APCF) is a key component of that pipeline and provides investigators with quantitative pharmacokinetic and pharmacodynamic analysis that is accurate and reproducible, says Timothy Synold, PharmD
, director of the APCF and professor in the Department of Cancer Biology at City of Hope. Pharmacokinetics refers to how a drug behaves in the body and pharmacodynamics describes how the body responds to the drug. Understanding both the pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics of a new drug is critical to its optimization because the best drug for use in humans is not always the most potent molecule identified in the lab.
“For a drug to be effective in a patient, it has to get to its site of action at sufficient concentrations and stay around for long enough to have its desired effect,” explains Synold. “The APCF provides expertise in the study of pharmacokinetics and pharmacodynamics to City of Hope investigators who are developing exciting new agents with the ultimate goals of improving patient outcomes and reducing toxicity.”
Underscoring its importance to the City of Hope, the APCF plays a role in nearly all of the early drug development efforts that take place on campus. Support is provided to both clinical and pre-clinical investigators and services cover the entire spectrum of a drug development project, including study design, protocol review, sample analysis, data analysis, collaborative writing, and more. Furthermore, the APCF is one of the few research laboratories on campus that is Good Laboratory Practices (GLP)-compliant. The GLP-compliant environment allows the APCF to perform research that results in data that are acceptable to regulatory agencies like the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The facility was established in 1993 and has grown significantly since its inception. The APCF’s wide range of equipment includes five high-performance liquid chromatography triple quadrupole tandem mass spectrometers and a recently acquired inductively coupled plasma triple quadrupole mass spectrometer. These instruments represent the state-of-the-art in quantitation of small molecules and inorganic compounds, respectively. The APCF’s services are available to both City of Hope and external researchers.
“Because of the facilities strong translational focus, broad user base, and access to high-end instrumentation, the APCF is particularly well positioned to foster and encourage collaborations,” says Synold. “In addition, the APCF staff is available to train faculty, post-graduate fellows, and graduate students to perform their own quantitative analyses using the available shared instrumentation.”