ETB in Action

ETB staff collaborate with more than 200 investigators at NIH and in the academic, biopharmaceutical and nonprofit sectors to generate probes for studying a diverse cross-section of human biology, focusing specifically on new targets and untreatable diseases. Read the latest news about these collaborations below.

May 2020

High-Throughput Screening Helps Advance Melanoma Therapy
Finding the right compounds for new uses in treating a disease or improving a therapeutic approach can be time consuming. To speed up the process, NCATS scientists used high-throughput screening to help advance a therapy for melanoma.

February 2020

Reprogramming Immune Cells to Fight Tumors
Tumors can co-opt the body’s immune defenses to escape detection and boost cancer growth. To overcome this, researchers found a way to reprogram immune cells to stop tumor growth and kill cancer cells.

A Multipronged Approach Toward Treating DMD
Experts in high-throughput screening and lysosomal biology collaborate on a multipronged approach to lessen the symptoms of Duchenne muscular dystrophy.

September 2019

Following a Translational Science Path
NCATS supports several training and career development programs, including a postbaccalaureate program that not only inspires students to become scientists but also helps grow the translational science workforce. Read how one student’s summer internship and fellowship experience at NCATS turned her onto a career path in translational science.

March 2019

Brigham and Women’s Hospital and NCATS Scientists Dial Up an Approach Against Out-of-Control Inflammation
Scientists at Brigham and Women’s Hospital collaborated with NCATS high-throughput screening experts to investigate a different approach against chronic inflammation. The team identified four compounds, including two novel synthetic molecules. This finding provides a potential opportunity to develop a new kind of drug to reduce inflammation.

NCATS Spearheads a New Resource for Natural Products
Canvass, a screening library for natural products, was created by NCATS in collaboration with academic and industry researchers to uncover the potential medical use of these compounds and enable the creation of new treatments for diseases. The researchers have already found some compounds with unexpected biological activities.

December 2018

NCATS Researchers Develop New Approach to Identify Potential Cancer Drugs
NCATS researchers overcame a translational roadblock by developing a series of assays (tests) to identify compounds that disrupt a driver of several cancers. The work, using NCATS’ high-throughput screening technology to test thousands of compounds at once, provides a template for other scientists to discover new compounds that could be useful as cancer therapies.

July 2018

NCATS Ignites Translational Science Spark for Young Investigators
Through NIH’s Graduate Partnerships Program, translational research scholar Dorian Cheff collaborates with scientists at ETB and the Karolinska Institutet in Sweden on an understudied family of enzymes.

May 2018

NIH, Northwestern Scientists Develop Potential New Approach to Stop Cancer Metastasis
NCATS scientists from ETB and the Bridging Interventional Development Gaps program collaborated with National Cancer Institute and Northwestern University researchers to identify a new compound that blocks the spread of several types of cancer in animal models. The new compound, called metarrestin, potentially could be effective as a therapy after cancer surgery.

February 2018

NCATS, Karolinska Institutet Scientists Attack Cancer’s Defenses
Description: Scientists from NCATS and Sweden’s Karolinska Institutet have developed a potential new approach to fighting cancer by breaking down a defense system used by cancer cells.

January 2018

NCATS-Led Team Identifies Potential Strategy to Fight Huntington’s Disease
A team of NCATS scientists and collaborators have uncovered a new potential strategy against Huntington’s disease, an inherited, fatal neurodegenerative disorder that has no cure. These findings may also be relevant to a broader range of neurodegenerative disorders. 

November 2017 

Hibernating Ground Squirrels Provide Clues to New Stroke Treatments
NCATS and NINDS scientists collaborate to find a molecule that may protect brain cells during a stroke. 

July 2017

NIH Scientists Find Rare Disease Clues in Cell's Recycling System
NCATS scientists and their colleagues have demonstrated how an investigational drug works against a rare, fatal genetic disease, Niemann-Pick type C1 (NPC1). They found that a closely related compound will activate an enzyme, AMPK, triggering a cellular “housekeeping” system that helps reduce elevated cholesterol and other accumulated fats that in the brains and livers of NPC1 patients, which are hallmarks associated with severe neurological problems.  

June 2017

Researchers Aim to Repurpose Former Experimental Cancer Therapy to Treat Muscular Dystrophy
Researchers at NCATS and the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine have demonstrated that a drug originally targeted unsuccessfully to treat cancer may have new life as a potential treatment for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). The candidate drug, SU9516, represents a different kind of approach for treating DMD, a degenerative muscle disease that usually begins in childhood and has no known cure. It is caused by a faulty gene that leads to progressive muscle weakness, with death often occurring around age 25.

April 2017

International Scientific Teams Find Potential Approach Against Parasites
International scientific teams find potential approach against parasites. Led by NCATS and University of Tokyo scientists, the teams sorted through more than 1 trillion small protein fragments to uncover two that could shut down the enzyme. The finding, reported April 3, 2017, in Nature Communications, could set the stage for the potential development of new types of antimicrobial drugs.

May 2016

Ketamine Lifts Depression Via a Byproduct of its Metabolism
NIH scientists and grantees have discovered that ketamine lifts depression via a byproduct of its metabolism in mouse study.

September 2015

Data Released on Drug Combinations to Treat Malaria
NCATS researchers and collaborators from the NIH’s National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Georgetown University, and the University of California, San Francisco, have released a large dataset of potential drug combinations for malaria. Using NCATS’ state-of-the-art high-throughput combination drug-screening platform, the Center’s researchers tested 13,910 combinations of known and newly identified antimalarial drugs in three malaria parasite lines.

June 2015

NCATS-FDA Team Receives HHS Innovation Ventures Support to Crowdsource Information on Treating Tropical Diseases
NCATS-FDA team receives support from the HHS Innovation Ventures Fund — an HHS IDEA Lab program — to enhance the Web-based Collaborative Use Repurposing Engine (CURE). The highly competitive awards provide growth-stage funding and 15 months of mentoring as well as tools to help grow and sustain CURE, which supports crowdsourcing information on treating tropical diseases.

May 2015

Stopping Metastasis in Its Tracks: New 3-D Cell Model Enables Closer Look at Cancer Progression
ETB experts and University of Chicago researchers work together to create, adapt and validate an innovative 3-D ovarian cancer cell model used to identify small molecules that can prevent cancer cells from spreading to new sites in the body. The new model includes connective tissue cells and the extracellular matrix (a collection of supportive molecules outside cells), creating a more lifelike simulation of the human body environment.

August 2014

Improved Disease Model Leads to Potential Therapy for Rare Disorder
A team of researchers from ETB and the National Human Genome Research Institute make a major advance in the understanding and treatment of Gaucher disease, creating a new model that not only helps identify treatments for patients with this rare disorder, but also is useful in studying other diseases.

June 2014

Spotlight on Collaboration: A Journey From Biological Probes to Potential Therapeutics
Scientists in ETB work closely with academic, nonprofit and biotechnology researchers to pursue collaborative probe development projects, including the discovery of three novel small molecule chemical probes with the potential to treat diabetes, stroke and thrombosis.

September 2012

Activating Key Cancer Enzyme Blocks Tumor Growth in Mice
A team that includes nine ETB researchers identifies compounds that delay tumor formation in mice. The compounds target a specific form of pyruvate kinase, called PKM2, which governs how cancer cells use glucose.

July 2012

Collaboration May Help Uncover Treatments for Rare Neurologic Disease
Scientists from ETB and the University of Wisconsin–Madison help identify three promising molecular compounds from a collection of approved drugs to pursue as potential treatments for Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease, a rare neurological disorder.

May 2012

NIH and Eli Lilly Publish Guide to Help Researchers Develop Therapeutic Screening Tests
NCATS and Eli Lilly and Company jointly release an Assay Guidance Manual designed to provide step-by-step guidance through the complex process of turning a basic research finding into an assay (test) that will start the process of discovering pharmacological tools and drugs.