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Institute for Drug Development

Mays Cancer Center, home to UT Health San Antonio MD Anderson Cancer Center, has been at the forefront of cancer drug discovery for decades. Our Institute for Drug Development gives eligible patients a unique opportunity to receive new cancer drugs that may only be available through our center.

We are one of the leading cancer drug development centers in the country. Our contributions to the field include more than 20 FDA-approved new drugs (therapeutics), with many more in development.

In some cases, novel drugs may be available to eligible patients through phase I clinical trials up to five years before the general public has access to them. Our capabilities are renewing hope in patients for whom standard treatments have not been successful.

About our Institute for Drug Development

Our drug development program was one of the first of its kind in South Texas. Nationally renowned cancer researchers specializing in therapeutics work alongside chemists and biologists to develop and test new cancer drugs. Meet our team.

Our expertise includes advanced medical training for future drug development leaders. Find out more about our education and training cores.

The Institute for Drug Development is one of our many research centers exploring new cancer treatments. Find out more about:

Phase I clinical trials at Mays Cancer Center

Phase I clinical trials answer scientific questions about dosing and side effects of new drugs. These studies are the earliest point at which new drugs are available to eligible patients. Phase I trials are only available through established drug development programs such as ours.

We are exploring new options, including immunotherapy and targeted therapy for many types of cancer. Find out more about clinical trials.

How the Institute for Drug Development is advancing cancer care

The cancer drug development process includes different research activities:

Drug discovery

Biologists and chemists evaluate the fine details of cancer cells to identify proteins responsible for their growth. This information helps us identify drug targets, elements within cells that respond to cancer drugs.

Drug development

We evaluate compounds, groups of chemical substances, for their ability to interact with drug targets. Our scientists screen thousands of compounds to identify a few hundred potential options.

Preclinical trials

Our researchers perform studies in animals to learn more about:

  • How the body absorbs compounds within a new drug
  • Appropriate dose
  • Possible side effects
  • Best way to give the drug, such as a pill or injection

Phase I clinical trials

After preclinical trials, we adjust the drug or dose to make sure it is safe. Phase I trials are eligible patients’ first opportunity to receive these drugs while under the careful watch of our experts. Get more information about our cancer clinical trials.