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New Study Demonstrates the Importance of Long-Term Funding for Cancer Research


New Study Demonstrates the Importance of Long-Term Funding for Cancer Research

Bentley University report comes as Congress considers deep cuts to NIH research


Research, News

New drugs to treat cancer that are now emerging are the end products of research begun in the 1970s and ‘80s, a new study by Bentley University has found, demonstrating the importance of long-term research in bringing new therapies to market. The research, published today in the journal PLOS One, appears as Congress considers deep cuts to the National Institutes of Health, whose budget funds research into cancer and other diseases.

It has been more than 40 years since the federal government declared a “war on cancer” by dramatically increasing funding for basic cancer research, and the value of that investment is still being realized. The new research from Bentley‘s Center for Integration of Science and Industry  shows that some of today’s new cancer therapies are the result of research efforts started decades ago that are now mature enough to support efficient drug discovery and development.

The PLOS One article, titled “Modeling timelines for translational science in cancer; the impact of technological maturation,” examines the path by which discoveries in basic, biomedical science are translated into new drugs. The results show that the time from the initiation of new areas of research to the approval of new drugs using modern, targeted or biological technologies is typically 30 to 40 years.

“Our analysis shows that the emergence of new cancer therapeutics follows predictable patterns of technology innovation,” said Dr. Laura McNamee, the lead author of the paper and a research associate in Bentley’s Center for Integration of Science and Industry. “Basic research is essential. Until this research base is established, very few targeted or biological therapeutics are successfully approved.”

“This new research emphasizes the critical importance of long-term funding for basic research,” said Dr. Fred Ledley, founding director of the center and a co-author of the paper. “Most scientific discoveries are only the first step in basic science that may take decades to mature. It is important to recognize that reducing support for basic research may hurt new drug development for decades to come.”

The work was supported by a grant from the National Biomedical Research Foundation.

THE CENTER FOR INTEGRATION OF SCIENCE AND INDUSTRY at Bentley University brings together faculty, students, and visiting scholars in an interdisciplinary effort to understand and accelerate the translation of scientific discoveries to create public value. The Center is an environment for thought leadership and interdisciplinary scholarship spanning basic science, data analytics, business and public policy. For more information, visit and follow us on Twitter @sciindustry.

Media Contact: 
Meredith Mason, 781.891.2755,


by Meredith Mason  September 12, 2017

U.S. News & World Report ranked Bentley No. 2 among regional universities in New England and the Mid-Atlantic states, up from No. 3 last year, highlighting Bentley’s high-quality faculty and academic programs along with the strong value that students receive from a Bentley education.