The Oncology Department has been internationally recognized for its cancer research and oncology drug discovery since its start in the 1940s. Notable cancer researchers who helped build the program include: Howard Skipper (1974 Lasker Awardee); John Montgomery; Frank Schabel; Lee Bennett Jr.; and John A. Secrist.
Continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and other federal and private organizations, we have experienced long-standing success in anticancer drug discovery. Southern Research has discovered seven FDA-approved anticancer drugs: lomustine, carmustine, dacarbazine, fludarabine, clofarabine, pralatrexate, and amifostine (a cytoprotective agent). Additional anticancer drugs have advanced to clinical trials (see our drug discovery pipeline).
Over the last two decades, the Oncology Department has received more than $90 million in NIH funding. We have broad research interests in tumor cell biology, mechanism of action of chemotherapeutic drugs, and development of molecular-targeted therapeutics. Our faculty is actively involved in research programs in the NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB), and they serve as adjunct faculty at the UAB School of Medicine. Since 2009, we have been designated by the National Cancer Institute as a Chemical Biology Consortium (CBC) Center.