Almost half a million dollars of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009, aka the Stimulus Bill, is finding its way to the University thanks to two recent grants in pharmaceutical sciences from the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
“The funding of these two applications is extremely important to our department. First, important health research questions will be addressed, from how compounds cause liver damage to how to selectively deliver drugs to kill cancer cells while minimizing damage to normal ones. These studies could lead to improved health care for us all,” said Dr. Adeboye Adejare, chair of pharmaceutical sciences. “In the meantime, they will provide training in research methods to some of our students. They will also provide summer employment opportunities for students and faculty. This is a very efficient and effective use of ARRA funding.”
Dr. Peter Harvison, a professor in the department, will use his grant money for a study on “Thiazolidinedione-induced Hepatotoxicity.” As outlined in the project relevance section, the 2,4-thiazolidinedione (TZD) ring, found in current and prototype drugs, may be a factor in hepatotoxicity (liver damage) in some patients who take these therapeutic agents. This project is designed to develop an in vitro, non-animal based system to investigate the relationship between TZD rings and hepatotoxicity. An understanding of this connection may lead to development of better and safer drugs that contain TZD rings.
Also in pharmaceutical sciences, Dr. Clyde Ofner’s grant will focus on “A Biodegradable Doxorubicin Conjugate for Enhanced Tumor Uptake and Efficacy.” Ofner, who is an associate professor and director of the graduate pharmaceutics program working with anticancer drugs, aims to see if his biodegradable delivery system will localize the drug to tumors “for greater anti-tumor effects and reduce toxic, life-threatening, side effects of the drug. If the aims and goals of this proposal are achieved, the feasibility of this system will be established with good prospects for therapeutic advantages of tumor treatment and reduced systemic toxicity in clinical practice for doxorubicin as well as for other anti-tumor drugs.”
The Department of Health and Human Services notes: “The recent ARRA legislation provides an unprecedented level of funding ($8.2 billion in extramural funding) to the NIH to help stimulate the U.S.
economy through the support and advancement of scientific research. While NIH Institutes and Centers have broad flexibility to invest in many types of grant programs, they will follow the spirit of the ARRA by funding projects that will stimulate the economy, create or retain jobs, and have the potential for making scientific progress in two years.”