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Our Strategy

The BNDC unites drug discovery experts with scientists studying pathways leading to neurodegenerative diseases. By forming partnerships early in the discovery process, we aim to accelerate the timelines from discovery to clinical trial and to increase the number of innovative programs in development. We also find that these same pathways are activated in the cancer patient, thus we collaborate extensively within MD Anderson to explore the impact of these new therapies for oncology. We maintain a pipeline of 10-14 projects at various stages of development in the areas of neuroprotection, neuroinflammation, tau, and genetic risk factors.  Ultimately, we aim to forge partnerships with clinical organizations with expertise in clinical development.


Foundational Research

The BNDC accelerates translating breakthrough findings from academic investigators into novel therapies. To accomplish this goal, we develop long-term relationships with scientific pioneers studying neurological diseases and facilitate their research by providing funding and drug discovery expertise.

Drug Discovery Neurodegeneration

The BNDC is embedded in the Therapeutics Discovery Division at MD Anderson Cancer Center, a non-profit biotechnology and drug discovery center developing therapeutics for oncology and neurological disorders.  Our capabilities include all aspects of target validation, assay development, high throughput screening, medicinal chemistry, drug metabolism and pharmacokinetics, and neuropharmacology.

Translational Biomarkers

Successful therapies require tailoring the treatment to the patient. Adopting a precision medicine approach, the BNDC is expanding its portfolio to discover new biomarkers that predict a patient’s response to a specific therapy. Each drug discovery program in the BNDC aims for specific patient selection criteria and clinical response biomarkers to increase the odds of clinical trial success.

brain disease
brain tumors
neurological issues

Drug Delivery System

The blood brain barrier (BBB) is a tremendous technical challenge for new therapies for brain disease. The BNDC investigates new technologies to non-invasively improve drug delivery into the brain.

Brain Tumors

Several genetic risk factors for neurodegeneration are also dysregulated in microglia surrounding brain tumors. These commonalities suggest parallel biology underlies disease progression. The BNDC leverages MD Anderson's expertise in brain cancer to discover connections between these two devastating diseases.

Neurohealth Initiative

Many cancer treatments are toxic to the nervous system and can cause serious neurological issues in which there are no effective therapies. The BNDC has partnered with clinical oncology departments at MD Anderson Cancer Center to launch a clinical research program to identify how the nervous system responds to neural damage. Through this effort, we will discover neuroprotective strategies for potential application to these and other neurological diseases.

"The scientific and translational expertise of BNDC scientists has been critical as we aim to translate basic research findings into potential therapeutic strategies."

~ Jeannie Chin, Ph.D.

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