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Last Updated: 03/10/21

The NCI Natural Products Open Repository Program

This program was established in 1992 to enable the extramural community to investigate NPR materials, which have not met the current requirements of the NCI screens, as potential sources of agents for the treatment of all human diseases. As of February, 1999, the program was expanded to include all human diseases.

Requests for access to the Open Repository

Requests for NPR materials will be accepted from research organizations and individual investigators in the form of a brief proposal (up to 5 pages) formatted as follows:

  1. Introduction.
  2. Research Hypothesis.
  3. Screening Process, together with description of the characteristics of the screen.
  4. Personnel.
  5. Organizational Research Capabilities.

Requests will normally be reviewed by a committee of the NCI Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis (DCTD) staff appointed by the Director, DCTD. Ad hoc members from outside the Division, Institute, or NIH may be appointed as needed, while ensuring appropriate confidentiality of information provided in the proposal.

The review will consider primarily the scientific merit of the proposal related to the screening target for drug discovery, and the chemical and pharmaceutical expertise for adequate follow-up on the natural products supplied from the NPR.

The Committee to review applications for access to the Natural Products Repository will accept and review proposals on a continuing basis. Once accepted, requestors must enter into a Material Transfer Agreement with the NCI that defines research parameters, reporting requisites and requirements for respecting host country rights.

Distribution of materials from the Open Repository

  • Testing plates for screening containing 50 μg/well of individual samples in 96-well plates are generally the first samples provided by the NPB. In some cases, for more comprehensive screening programs, plates containing 500 μg/well can be provided. No information other than the type and source of the extracts on a particular plate will be provided (i.e. plate # contains 88 organic plant extracts at 50μg per well in lanes 2 through 12). Plates may also contain samples from the Active Repository Program; such extracts will only be available to investigators qualified for access to the Active Repository Program. Identical plates may be sent to multiple investigators.
  • Particular genera and/or species within a family, or samples from specified Countries of Origin, may be included or excluded, as far as possible, from shipments if requested. In general, the NPB will supply requesters with the number of samples on NPB plates containing organisms of interest and the requester can choose which plates to request.
  • Additional shipments of active samples may be provided to investigators to enable compound identification. Initial shipments will not exceed 1 gram with further materials possibly supplied on a case-by-case basis.

Upon identification of active extracts, investigators will communicate with NPB directly by e-mail of fax, and will be informed whether or not additional active materials are available. After the identification of active components is complete, the recipient will inform NPB of its discoveries and its level of interest.

  • If requested, the Countries of Origin will be given the name of the recipient organization, and will be informed that the organization will contact them if further material is required. Acquisition of further material will normally be the responsibility of the recipient organization working through the original collector (if possible) and the relevant Source Country permitting agency.
  • Since it is the responsibility of the NCI to ensure that the conditions of the Material Transfer Agreement (MTA) are maintained during this and subsequent stages of development, NPB will maintain interaction with the recipient organization and the Countries of Origin.

The test results, isolated chemical structures, published manuscripts and requests for additional samples of active extracts are submitted to:

Request contact:

Carol Haggerty
Natural Products Branch
Developmental Therapeutics Program
Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis
National Cancer Institute
Riverside Five, Suite 400, Room 4101
P. O. Box B
Frederick, MD, 21702
+1.301.624.1269 (Voice)
+1.301.631.3026 (Facsimile)

Requests must be copied to:

Barry R. O’Keefe, Ph.D.
Chief, Natural Products Branch,
Developmental Therapeutics Program
Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis
Bldg. 562, Rm. 201 Frederick, MD 21702
Tel: (301)-846-5332
Fax: (301)-846-6872

About the Branch Chief

Dr. Barry R. O’Keefe Dr. Barry R. O’Keefe received a B.S. in Botany from Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. in Pharmacognosy from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1993. In 1994 he joined the National Cancer Institute’s Laboratory of Drug Discovery Research and Development to study novel proteins from natural products extracts. More…