IIT Research Institute
IIT Research Institute (IITRI) is a contract research organization (CRO) located in Chicago, Illinois. IITRI is an independent corporation that operates in collaboration with its parent entity, the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT).
Research at IITRI is entirely focused on the Life Sciences, with particular emphasis on non-clinical toxicology, inhalation toxicology and technology, microbiology and molecular biology, and drug discovery and development for cancer and infectious disease. IITRI performs a broad range of research programs in the Life Sciences, with particular emphasis on studies to support Investigational New Drug applications and New Drug applications to the FDA.
History of IITRI
IIT Research Institute (IITRI) was formed in 1936 as the Armour Research Foundation (ARF), and was renamed IITRI in the 1950's. Initially, ARF was formed to support the research endeavors of faculty members from the Armour Institute, predecessor to the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT).
IITRI is headquartered on the IIT campus in Chicago, but operates as an independent, not-for-profit research organization. Between its founding in 1936 and 2000, IITRI developed research operations in approximately two dozen locations across the United States. The IITRI staff grew to approximately 1700 employees who performed research and development programs with an annual research volume that exceeded $200 M per year.
In 2002, IITRI became entirely focused on the Life Sciences, as all engineering divisions were spun off into a separate, employee-owned corporation (Alion Science and Technology). Since 2002, research at IITRI has been entirely focused on biomedical research, with particular emphasis on non-clinical toxicology, safety evaluations, and drug discovery and development. IITRI currently performs research in five Technical Divisions: Toxicology, Inhalation Toxicology, Microbiology and Molecular Biology, Carcinogenesis and Cancer Chemoprevention, and Drug Discovery.
In 2006, IITRI formed Technology Research, Inc., (TRI), as a wholly-owned subsidiary in which research programs that fall outside of IITRI's not-for-profit charter can be conducted.
Divisions of IITRI
Scientists working in IITRI's Toxicology Division have performed non-clinical toxicology studies for Sponsors in the U.S. Government and industry more than thirty years. Current programs involve a full range of acute, subchronic and chronic studies in both rodent and non-rodent model systems, and are designed to support Investigational New Drug (IND) Applications and New Drug Applications (NDA) to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, as well as submissions to other regulatory agencies. Studies are performed in full compliance with Good Laboratory Practice (GLP) regulations. IITRI has particular expertise in non-clinical studies supporting the development of drugs for cancer prevention and therapy.
In addition to general toxicology studies, IITRI scientists routinely perform pharmacokinetics and metabolism (PK/ADME) studies, reproductive toxicology studies, safety pharmacology studies, and studies involving a variety of specialized endpoints. A particular strength of the scientific staff is the integration of non-routine evaluations (genomics/gene expression, cell biology, biochemistry, enzymology endpoints) into the conduct of non-clinical toxicology protocols.
IITRI's Inhalation Toxicology Division integrates the efforts of doctoral-level inhalation scientists and engineers with experienced, doctoral-level toxicologists to conduct of a full range of non-clinical toxicology studies in support of Investigational New Drug (IND) and New Drug (NDA) Applications. Studies are routinely performed in both rodent and non-rodent species.
Nose-only and whole body exposures are performed using metered dose inhalaers, nebulizers, atomizers, powder dispensers, and vapor generation systems, with continuous on-line monitoring to document test atmosphere composition. Study endpoints are similar to those performed by scientists of the Toxicology Division, and commonly involve both route and non-routine safety evaluations.
Safety Pharmacology studies are performed to determine the effects of drugs and other xeniobiotics on the function of the central nervous, respiratory, cardiovascular, and urinary/renal systems. Cardiovascular safety pharmacology studies are performed using Telemetry instrumentation.
Microbiology and Molecular Biology
Scientists working in IITRI's Microbiology and Molecular Biology Division work in genetic toxicology, immunotoxicology, applied microbiology, genomics and gene expression, and molecular diagnostics.
Genetic Toxicologists at IITRI routinely perform bacterial mutagenesis assays (Ames Tests), mammalian mutagenesis assays (mouse lymphoma and other tests), DNA damage assays (micronucleus and chromosomal aberration assays), and cytotoxicity assays.
Molecular biologists perform a wide range of studies in gene expression, including genomics evaluations using several different platforms.
IITRI has more than 25 years of experience in immunotoxicology. In the early 1980's, our scientists were key participants in the original tripartite program (with the NIEHS and the Medical College of Virginia) in which murine immunotoxicology bioassays were developed and validated. Subsequently, IITRI scientists played a major role in the development and validation of the local lymph node assay (LLNA) for the rapid detection of agents that induce hypersensitivity.
IITRI's Microbiology and Molecular Biology Division operates both Biosafety Level-2 and Biosafety Level-3 laboratories for in vitro and in vivo studies, and is approved by the United States Centers for Disease Control to conduct studies with a broad range of pathogenic agents. This work involves molecular diagnostics, drug and vaccine efficacy evaluations, drug and vaccine safety evaluations, and decontamination studies.
Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention
The focus of research efforts in this group is the prevention of cancer by pharmacologic, nutritional, or hormonal interventions. IITRI has more than 30 years of experience in preclinical studies of cancer prevention, and IITRI scientists have published more than 200 peer-reviewed papers in the field.
Originally a group that was focused entirely on the prevention of experimental breast cancer, scientists working in IITRI's Carcinogenesis and Chemoprevention Division have conducted studies directed at mechanisms of carcinogenesis and prevention of cancer in the breast, prostate, lung, colon, urinary bladder, oral cavity, liver, skin, and hematopoietic system, among other organ sites. The earliest studies conducted by this group (in the 1970's) focused on the prevention of cancer by natural and synthetic analogs of vitamin A (retinoids). This work has expanded substantially since that time, and currently involves a wide range of natural products (soy isoflavones and protease inhibitors, tea polyphenols, organic selenium compounds, vitamin D and derivatives), hormones and hormone analogs, and pharmacologic agents originally developed for other indications. Mechanistic studies are performed at the cell, biochemical, and molecular levels, and preclinical drug discovery and development studies involve a wide range of in vitro and in vivo screening, efficacy, and preclinical toxicology programs.
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