Christine D'Antonio reporting

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It’s being called the first of its kind.

A new drug to treat several different types of cancer developed by a local Duquesne University researcher.

It’s a water soluble drug that specifically attacks the cancer sparing the healthy cells around it.

It’s been several years in the making and could be a lifesaver for those battling cancer.

The cancer drugs were developed in the Duquesne University Labs by Dr. Aleem Gangjee.

Dr. Gangjee is a longtime professor and researcher at Duquesne who started his hypothesis for the compounds in late 2007.

Nearly 50 patents later, Dr. Gangjee believes what he’s created could change the way many types of cancers are treated. It’s called targeted therapy and works by using one drug to do many things simultaneously.

Dr. Gangjee said, “That’s really a dream, to have a compound that can kill the cancer but not touch the normal cells at all. You don’t have to wait till you starve the tumor and then kill it. As you starve the tumor you’re also killing it.”

Traditional chemotherapy uses numerous drugs to attack the cancer and causes high levels of toxicity.

Dr. Gangee’s breakthrough treatments have proven successful in animal studies. Specifically on difficult cancers to treat like ovarian, brain, triple negative breast and lung cancer.

Dr. Gangjee and his team of researchers have teamed up with FLAG Therapeutics Inc., entering into the Universities largest licensing deal ever.

The Raleigh, N.C. based startup is run by Duquesne Alum Frank Sorgi.

Clinical trials are the next step which will have to be approved by the FDA.

The process will take at least two years.

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