Klauber-DeMore recognized for spirit of academic innovation in cancer research

December 08, 2020
Dr. Nancy Klauber-DeMore stands in her lab
Dr. Nancy Klauber-DeMore's research focuses on developing new therapies for breast cancer and novel surgical devices to aid in breast surgery. Photo by Sarah Pack

In recognition of her spirit of innovation and the lasting impact of her work on cancer patients, MUSC Hollings Cancer Center researcher Nancy Klauber-DeMore, M.D., has been named as a 2020 fellow of the National Academy of Inventors (NAI), the organization announced today.

Induction into the NAI fellows program is the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic innovators. The program was established to highlight inventors who have created or facilitated outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.

Klauber-DeMore joins a class that represents 115 research universities and governmental and nonprofit research institutes worldwide. To be eligible, awardees must have made outstanding contributions in areas such as patents, licensing, innovative discovery, technology or the enhancement of innovation and must be named as the inventor on patent(s) issued by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office.

“As a physician-scientist, my ultimate goal is to take discoveries of novel cancer targets from human tumors all the way to development of a drug to treat the patient’s disease,” said Klauber-DeMore. “It is an honor to have this work recognized by NAI.”

The BMW Endowed Chair in Cancer Research at the Medical University of South Carolina, Klauber-DeMore has extensive research experience in developing new therapies for breast cancer that have led to clinical advances in patient care, particularly for those with metastatic disease. She has been a principal or co-investigator on more than 30 active and completed clinical trials and has contributed to five patents or patents pending. She is also developing novel surgical devices to aid in breast surgery.

Her lab focuses on discovering novel factors that stimulate the growth of new capillary blood vessels that provide tumors with oxygen and nutrients with a goal of developing new drugs to block these factors, therefore inhibiting tumor growth. She has also played an integral role as a surgeon in the evaluation of surgical clinical trials as well as clinical trials evaluating the role of natural products in cancer treatment.

With a focus on discovering less toxic therapies, Klauber-DeMore is leading investigator-initiated trials that look at the effects of natural products, such as an extract of frankincense, on tumor biology in humans and is collaborating with Mark Hamman, Ph.D., a researcher in Hollings’ Developmental Cancer Therapeutics Program, to generate potent analogues of frankincense.

Most recently, research by Klauber-DeMore helped to lead to the development of IVT-8086, a new innovative cancer therapy for the treatment of osteosarcoma. In September, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration granted the drug both the rare pediatric disease designation and orphan drug designation, highlighting the significant unmet medical needs of patients with this life-threatening disease.

“The most significant work that I have been involved in is in developing IVT-8086. This novel monoclonal antibody is directed toward a protein that we discovered to be very important in tumor growth and tumor immunology and is the culmination of 15 years of research,” said Klauber-DeMore. “My long-term goal is to continue to impact cancer patients through innovation in drug discovery.”

Klauber-DeMore will be inducted into the academy at the 2021 Fellows Induction Ceremony at the NAI’s 10th annual meeting in Tampa, Florida, in June.