Cisplatin Celebration & Cancer Research Symposium
Please join us on August 3-4 as we celebrate the 40th anniversary of the FDA’s approval of cisplatin and showcase key cancer research from the discovery of cisplatin/carboplatin to the present.
The two-day event will include a reception and cancer research poster presentation on Friday evening, followed by an all-day symposium on Saturday that features a veritable “Who’s Who” of scientists and experts in the cisplatin/carboplatin field. There will also be presentations from nationally renowned MSU faculty members who will share some of the latest cancer research advances in precision nanomedicine, medicinal chemistry and the metabolic regulation of this complex disease. It’s an event that you won’t want to miss!
Anniversary of approval
This year marks the 40th anniversary of cisplatin’s approval by the FDA as an anti-cancer drug. Cisplatin (and the close analog, carboplatin) is known to be the “penicillin of cancer drugs,” because it has been one of the first, most widely prescribed, and most effective treatment for many cancer diagnoses. Cisplatin was approved by the FDA in 1978, revolutionizing the treatment of certain cancers, especially testicular, bladder, lung and stomach cancers, and saving countless lives.
A history of life-saving discovery
It was in the mid-to-late 1960s that Michigan State University biophysicist Barnett Rosenberg and colleagues, Loretta Van Camp and Thomas Krigas, discovered the cancer-fighting properties of platinum.
While doing experiments designed to determine if electromagnetic energy could interfere with cell division in E. coli bacteria, they observed that cell division was inhibited but not cell growth, giving rise to long filamentous forms of the bacteria.
The cause of this key observation was pursued for five years, eventually leading to the discovery of cisplatin as potent agent capable of interfering with the growth of selected cancer cells and slowing their advance in the body.
Believed to operate by cross-linking DNA molecules, cisplatin, when combined with other chemotherapies, results in profound cure rates for testicular cancers and can significantly lower the rate of head, neck, bone and early stages of ovarian cancer. In 1989, carboplatin was approved as a second-generation platinum drug with fewer side effects than cisplatin.
When designing and evaluating new cancer treatments, current-day researchers use the cisplatin model as a gold standard to compare new medicines.
A gift that keeps on giving
Rosenberg retired from MSU in 1997 and continued research at his private laboratory, the Barros Research Institute in Holt, Mich. Rosenberg died in 2009, but the royalties from cisplatin and carboplatin still provide great benefit to MSU.
The university’s share of licensing royalties from the MSU-owned innovations go to the MSU Foundation, a nonprofit corporation established to support MSU, particularly as its research mission and subsequent commercialization activities at MSU Technologies.
The MSU Foundation currently manages $425 million, mostly derived from the cisplatin and carboplatin royalties. Cooperation between the MSU Foundation and the MSU Innovation Center helps create a virtuous cycle of reinvestment in commercializing technologies that serve the greater good. Years after the expiration of the patents, the licensing revenue from cisplatin and carboplatin continue to deliver benefits to the MSU enterprise.