Drug Discovery and Structural Biology

City of Hope's primary goal for its comprehensive cancer center and translational research is to develop more effective and less toxic new therapies for cancer treatment.

To support this mission, we established the Drug Discovery and Structural Biology (DDSB) core to facilitate drug discovery efforts technically and scientifically.

The DDSB's unique transdisciplinary services and expanded, integrated space enable the development of new molecular-targeted compounds for chemical biology studies and cancer therapies.

Meet the Team
David Horne, Ph.D.
David Horne, Ph.D.
Core Co-Director, Drug Discovery and Structural Biology
David Horne, Ph.D., is one of the institutional leaders in all aspects of academic scientific and medical education, shaping the scientific and educational vision for City of Hope. He serves as vice provost and deputy director of Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope and dean of faculty affairs, overseeing the International Research Programs and the Office of Faculty Affairs. Dr. Horne’s professional experience is complemented by impressive academic achievements in medicinal chemistry and drug development. Read more
John C. Williams, Ph.D.
John C. Williams, Ph.D.
Core Co-Director, Drug Discovery and Structural Biology
Full bio
Contact the Team
To request or initiate services, please login or register via iLab Solutions. For any additional questions, please contact David Horne.
Using the Drug Discovery and Structural Biology Facility
Drug Discovery and Structural Biology Services
Basic Text Field

The core comprises four major service components:

These disciplines work together in a complementary and cohesive manner to provide a full array of early-phase drug discovery services and chemical probes for biological systems. The high throughput screening component of the DDSB, for example, provides unique opportunities for the discovery of small-molecule inhibitors of targeted proteins. Following such discoveries, lead compounds can be elaborated through medicinal chemistry and structural activity relationship studies. Once a good lead compound is developed in such a case, X-ray crystallographic analysis of the drug-protein complex begins. This analysis is an essential component of any drug development process since its observations are critical to understanding drug-protein interaction and facilitate the optimization of ligand binding by molecular design.

The general capabilities of the DDSB Core are significant and include the design and synthesis of highly specialized biopolymers, including siRNA-aptamers, DNA-peptide hybrid derivatives, and peptides >100 amino acids in length. In addition, the core maintains expertise in synthetic organic chemistry and is capable of synthesizing complex molecules and small-molecule agonists and antagonists, imaging agents, affinity ligands, nanoparticles, and focused combinatorial libraries. These compounds are used for mechanistic studies in chemical biology, in the generation of lead compounds for drug discovery, in drug optimization for preclinical evaluation, and, ultimately, in the development of new targeted cancer therapeutics.

The DDSB can synthesize all structural classes, from small to large organic molecules, including air- and light-sensitive materials. Additionally, the synthetic component of the DDSB works closely with the Chemical GMP Synthesis core facilities in developing good manufacturing practice synthesis processes for investigations of new drug submissions.

Another significant aspect of the DDSB lies in the structural characterization of drug-protein complexes by X-ray crystallography and other biophysical techniques, such as surface plasmon resonance, isothermal titration calorimetry and analytical ultracentrifugation.

Any subcomponent of the DDSB can be used on a stand-alone basis for a specific application.

Find a Clinical Trial

In a given year, City of Hope conducts more than 400 clinical trials enrolling more than 6,000 patients.

Research at City of Hope

City of Hope is focused on basic and clinical research in cancer, diabetes and other life-threatening diseases.

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