Discovery and Developmental Therapeutics

The objective of the Discovery and Developmental Therapeutics (DDT) program is to discover, develop and test new and existing therapies in the lab and quickly translate them into safe and effective clinical trials. 

Program Aims

As of June 2023

Identify, develop, and apply immunotherapy-based approaches for the treatment of cancer and elucidate strategies to suppress adverse effects

A focus of DDT is immuno-oncology research to uncover novel mechanistic insights into how the immune system may be harnessed to eliminate cancer, and to bring novel immunotherapeutic approaches into the clinic to address cancers that affect patients in our catchment area. Since these therapies are often associated with adverse effects from over-activating immune cell subpopulations, another focus is to develop strategies that attenuate systemic and organ-specific immunological toxicities.  

Develop and employ imaging and radiotherapy strategies to optimize cancer treatment and increase therapeutic index

A DDT objective is to develop and employ innovative cancer imaging approaches to accurately characterize the extent of tumor involvement and measure response to chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and immunotherapy. Program members also seek to advance a precision medicine approach to radiotherapy by developing strategies to reduce toxicities through real-time sequential modification of radiation fields via practice-changing computational modeling.

Discover and therapeutically target drivers of cancer initiation, progression and metastasis

A significant area of DDT focus is to identify and target resistance mechanisms to hormonal, biological, small molecule, and chemotherapeutic anti-cancer agents. Through the launch of a precision oncology bidirectional research platform, DDT members evaluate and target treatment-refractory cancers and rare cancers with the objective of providing tailored therapy based on unique molecular signatures.

Program Leaders


William R. Drobyski, MD

Mariette C. and Philip W. Orth/Tom Anderson Chair of Oncology; Professor, Medicine (Hematology/Oncology), Pediatrics, Microbiology & Immunology


Todd Miller, PhD

Professor of Pharmacology & Toxicology and Pathology