Health and Medicine

The innovation engine

UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy is working to advance the field of pharmacy and accelerate bold ideas that lead to innovations.

Cancer. It’s a scary word encompassing a family of scary diseases that most people will experience in some way at one point or another in their lives. Cancer is insidious, complex and evolving. And even though doctors and researchers have made great strides in fighting many types of cancer, there’s still a lot to learn and a long way to go.

The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s investigators are working to devise, develop and deliver life-saving therapies to patients, as well as improve outcomes, inform the national conversation on access and efficacy and make a difference.

image_miniWith Dr. Fred Eshelman’s most recent $100 million commitment to create the Eshelman Institute for Innovation, the school aims to advance the field of pharmacy and accelerate bold ideas that lead to innovations—drug discovery and delivery are among its top priorities.

It takes years, even decades, to fully develop effective drug therapies and delivery mechanisms to tackle a specific problem once identified. While commercial pharmaceutical companies have traditionally filled this role, it has become increasingly difficult to bring projects from inception through to completion and out to market. A number of factors contribute to this trend, most notably greater emphasis on profitability, inability to invest in long-term research and take significant risks, personnel turnover and shifts in project focus.

Bottom line: Drug discovery is moving from mainstream big pharma to academe.

The UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy is a nationally recognized leader in pharmacy practice, education and research, and is well-positioned to fill this role.

How does that work?

The long, protracted process of drug development is wrought with twists and turns, small successes and huge failures. Its numerous stages involve significant collaboration among many different areas. It demands patience and perseverance. Each of the school’s divisions plays an integral role in the progression. With a focus on cancer, Carolina Connections looks at key stages of the drug discovery process and some of the experts driving the science.

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