In the news / Drug Discovery

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More than 1.5 billion people live with chronic pain worldwide, and it’s the most common cause of long-term disability in the United States. Several BIO5 researchers are addressing chronic pain and working to tackle the opioid epidemic through basic science and clinical approaches.
 
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Cholangiocarcinoma is a rare, aggressive cancer affecting the bile ducts both in and outside of the liver. Experts estimate that 8000 people in the United States are diagnosed with this cancer each year, although the actual number is likely to be higher because it can be hard to diagnose and may be misclassified as other types of cancer.
 
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A recent UArizona College of Pharmacy study suggests that personal genomic educational testing (PGET), which is thought to have potential as a learning tool in pharmacogenomic education, may offer no significant benefits in terms of improved knowledge or attitudes for PharmD students towards the subject.
 
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University of Arizona Health Sciences researchers recently completed a study that has the potential to improve cancer treatment for colorectal cancer and melanoma by using nanotechnology to deliver chemotherapy in a way that makes it more effective against aggressive tumors.
 
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Dr. Jianqin Lu leads a research team which created the first nanotherapeutic platform of its kind, using a nanotechnology delivery method to make them more effective against aggressive tumors. The researchers note that their nanotechnology platform can be used to deliver a range of cancer therapeutics.
 
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Despite slowdowns in research suffered by universities around the world due to the pandemic, the University of Arizona has experienced solid growth in the commercialization of university inventions. In the last fiscal year alone UArizona received 274 invention disclosures and launched 17 startups.
 
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Despite slowdowns in research suffered by universities around the world due to the pandemic, the University of Arizona has experienced solid growth in the commercialization of university inventions.
 
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A team of University of Arizona researchers are changing the way we prevent and treat heart disease. Dr. Chris Glembotski discovered a compound shown to be effective in reducing severity and recurrence of heart attack, even limiting the damage to the brain during stroke.
 
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Sleep is a big deal, and we’re not getting enough. An estimated 50 to 70 million Americans are affected by poor sleep and it’s having an impact on both our mental and physical health.

 
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The National Academy of Inventors has named 61 academic inventors to the 2021 class of NAI Senior Members. Among them are University of Arizona Health Sciences professors Drs. May Khanna and Meredith Hay. NAI Senior Members are active faculty, scientists and administrators from NAI Member Institutions who have demonstrated remarkable innovation producing technologies that have brought, or aspire to bring, real impact on the welfare of society.
 
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In recent years, there’s been a push by pharma to find nonaddictive pain therapies. In 2006, scientists described the curious case of a Pakistani boy who seemed immune to pain. It was discovered that the SCN9A gene provides instructions for making a “sodium channel” found in nerve cells that transmits pain signals to the brain, acting like a volume knob for pain. Now, a biotech startup wants to mimic this mutation to treat people with chronic pain using CRISPR. Dr. Rajesh Khanna, UArizona Pharmacology professor and BIO5 member who specializes in the study of chronic pain, weighs in on the research surrounding the Nav1.7 channel and use of CRISPR therapy.
 
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Dr. Joel Cuello, UArizona Biosystems Engineering professor and BIO5 member, led a cross-disciplinary team to develop the Air Accordion Photobioreactor, the sustainable tech utilized by the startup AlgaeCell, to produce microalgae for use in pharmaceuticals, supplements, and vaccines.
 
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The Flinn Foundation Entrepreneurialship Program awarded $30K to two UArizona startup companies, including Scintillation Nanotechnologies co-founded by Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry professor and BIO5 member Dr. Craig Aspinwall. Scintillation creates, manufactures, and sells a detector that looks to help create more precise disease treatments and diagnoses.
 
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The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) has named 61 academic inventors to the 2021 class of NAI Senior Members. Among these are professors Drs. May Khanna and Meredith Hay of the University of Arizona. NAI Senior Members are active faculty with growing success in patents, licensing and commercialization. The ability to nominate an individual for NAI Senior Member recognition is an exclusive opportunity afforded solely to NAI Member Institutions like the UArizona to recognize their outstanding innovators. These organizations themselves are widely regarded as innovation powerhouses which continuously promote and foster the spirit of innovation.
 
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UArizona College of Pharmacy Dean Dr. Rick Schnellmann shares about his journey to pursuing academic research and his plans and goals for the college as he looks to the future of the field. Dr. Schnellmann also discusses the expansion of the college with six new endowed chairs and new certificate/dual degree programs for students.
 
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Two University of Arizona faculty members including UArizona Pharmacy professor and BIO5 member Dr. Laurence Hurley, have been elected to the National Academy of Inventors, considered one of the highest professional honors awarded solely to academic inventors, the school said. They join a group of more than 4,000 individual academic inventors that has generated $2.2 trillion in revenue from more than 42,700 U.S. patents and 13,000 licensed technologies and companies.
 
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As vaccines for COVID-19 roll out, so do questions and concerns. Do they work? What are the side effects? Which one is more effective? Pfizer or Moderna? Different companies but both claim their vaccine to be 95% effective. Doctors all over the world are saying, not just having one but two vaccines is incredible. Dr. Elizabeth Connick, UArizona Chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases and BIO5 member, called the vaccine a home run. Overall, Dr. Connick said, the vaccines are the same but with a few differences, like effects.
 
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Two University of Arizona faculty including College of Pharmacy professor and BIO5 member Dr. Laurence Hurley, have been elected as fellows of the National Academy of Inventors. Election as an NAI fellow is the highest professional distinction accorded solely to academic inventors. The NAI Fellows Program highlights academic inventors who have demonstrated a spirit of innovation in creating or facilitating outstanding inventions that have made a tangible impact on quality of life, economic development and the welfare of society.