Newswise — JUPITER, FL, April 9, 2015 – Scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have been awarded $1.2 million from the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to accelerate the development of drug candidates to curb one of the most important drivers of human cancer.

TSRI Associate Professors Joseph Kissil and Louis Scampavia will be co-principal investigators for the three-year grant, which will focus on the “Hippo-YAP signaling pathway.”

“This pathway, which was discovered less than a decade ago, appears to regulate processes that are closely linked to an increasing number of cancers,” Kissil said. “The more we study it, the more we see its involvement. This new grant will help expand our investigation.” The Hippo-YAP signaling pathway has been found active in breast, colorectal and liver cancers, in hepatocellular and squamous cell carcinoma, and in melanoma of the eye. Cancers initiated through this pathway tend to thrive and proliferate, relatively immune to destruction from programmed cell death.

Kissil, Scampavia and their colleagues plan to use Scripps Florida’s ultra-high-throughput screening resources and the campus’s library of more than 600,000 compounds to develop a series of screens to identify and optimize compounds to target the pathway and combat cancer.

The number of the grant is 1R01CA184277.

About The Scripps Research Institute

The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) is one of the world's largest independent, not-for-profit organizations focusing on research in the biomedical sciences. TSRI is internationally recognized for its contributions to science and health, including its role in laying the foundation for new treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, hemophilia, and other diseases. An institution that evolved from the Scripps Metabolic Clinic founded by philanthropist Ellen Browning Scripps in 1924, the institute now employs about 3,000 people on its campuses in La Jolla, CA, and Jupiter, FL, where its renowned scientists—including two Nobel laureates—work toward their next discoveries. The institute's graduate program, which awards PhD degrees in biology and chemistry, ranks among the top ten of its kind in the nation. For more information, see