Joint UGA-GRU Internal Awards Selected

In Fall 2013 the Cancer Centers from Georgia Regents University and the University of Georgia hosted a research retreat focused on cancer biomarkers and therapeutics. From this retreat, a grant initiative supporting research in this area was announced. Designed to promote more collaborative interactions, this grant initiative is jointly funded by the two organizations investigating cancer biomarkers and therapeutics. We are pleased to announce that the award winners for this grant have been selected.


Pharmacokinetics and efficacy of oral ProFine in preclinical models of prostate cancer

Michael Griffith Bartlett (UGA); Daqing Wu (GRU)

The high prevalence and long latency of prostate cancer provide a unique opportunity to control disease progression and improve the quality of life with minimum intervention. However, there is no effective approach for the management of low-risk prostate cancer, which represents a substantial population of patients and is often over-treated. Recently we developed a proprietary formulation (ProFine) consisting of naturally-occurring flavonoids that co-target androgen receptor and Akt signaling in prostate cancer cells. In this joint project, we will investigate the in vivo pharmacokinetics (by Dr. Bartlett’s group at UGA) and efficacy (by Dr. Wu’s group at GRU) of ProFine in preclinical models. We expect to demonstrate ProFine as a safe, efficacious, and cost-effective alternative therapy for low-risk prostate cancer that can be readily tested in the clinical setting.


Targeting WASF3 in Cancer Progression

Eileen Kennedy (UGA); John K. Cowell (GRU)

The major cause of death due to cancer results from metastatic spread of the primary tumor. The WASF3 gene has been shown to be a key regulator of metastasis in a wide variety of cancer types. Genetic inactivation of WASF3 leads to loss of invasion and metastasis suggesting a potential target to suppress metastasis. There are currently no drugs that target WASF3. Targeting protein-protein interactions with peptides carrying modified amino acids – “staples” – leads to increased cell uptake and stability. The interaction between WASF3 and CYFIP1 is essential for a functional complex, and disrupting this complex leads to loss of invasion. In this collaboration, Dr. Kennedy will develop stapled peptides targeting this protein-protein interaction, and Dr. Cowell’s group will perform in vitro and in vivo studies to evaluate the ability of these stapled peptides to suppress metastasis. Stapled peptides are currently under evaluation in clinical trials. The scope of work in this project is designed to perform the preclinical studies required to progress this technology to a clinical trial.

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Allison Brown
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Written by Allison Brown

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