RTI International researchers awarded grant funding to explore drugs for chronic pain, cancer

January 08, 2019

RESEARCH TRIANGLE PARK, NC—Researchers from RTI International (RTI), a nonprofit research institute, are among the awardees of the Duke-RTI Collaborative Translational Research Grant. The awardees work in RTI’s Center for Drug Discovery, and will explore drugs to combat chronic pain and cancer.

The grant is part of a joint program launched in fall 2018 between RTI and the Duke Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI) Accelerator that aims to advance drug discovery research by combining the strengths of each institution.

The RTI awardees are listed below:

  • Allison Zarkin, PhD, an organic chemist who works as a research associate at RTI. She will team up with Andrea Nackley from the Duke University School of Medicine to examine the possibility of targeting a pain receptor that has not been targeted by traditional pain relievers, an approach that may treat pain more effectively without unwanted side effects.
  • Ronnie Maitra, PhD, a research pharmacologist at RTI, who will be working with Donald McDonnell from Duke’s Department of Pharmacology and Cancer Biology to pursue the development of a novel ERRa antagonist for the treatment of cancer.
  • Danni Harris, PhD and Ann Decker, PhD, who will join Dorothy Sipkins and Trevor Price from the Duke University School of Medicine to pursue a new type of treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which involves the development of lead compounds that will directly target a newly discovered mechanism of central nervous system invasion.

For more information about this grant and the new collaboration between Duke and RTI to advance drug discovery research, visit https://ctsi.duke.edu/.