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Albany College of Pharmacy Researcher Receives $368,445 Grant from the National Institutes of Health
Date:6/26/2008

Dr. Shaker A. Mousa to Test New Approaches to Stop the Spread of Pancreatic

Cancer

ALBANY, N.Y., June 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Shaker A. Mousa, Ph.D., executive vice president and chairman of the Pharmaceutical Research Institute (PRI) at Albany College of Pharmacy (ACP), has been awarded a $368,445 research grant from the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Mousa along with a team of PRI investigators that includes Dr. Lawrence Lansing, Dr. Lakshman Sehgal, Dr. Murat Yalcin and PRI technical staff, will study new methods for limiting the spread of pancreatic cancer in the body to allow for better treatment of the disease. The research will take place over a period of 22 months.

Cancer cells survive and spread (metastasize) by attaching themselves to platelets in the bloodstream. Research has shown that the blood thinner Heparin is effective in preventing the bonding of cancer cells and platelets, but the dosages required to affect this result lead to increased bleeding or blood loss in patients. Dr. Mousa and his team will focus their research on modifying 'low molecular weight Heparin compounds' in a way that will still inhibit the bonding of the cancer cells and platelets, while minimizing or eliminating the bleeding and other negative side effects associated with high levels of Heparin.

"Pancreatic cancer is not only hard to diagnose, but it is an extremely aggressive form of cancer. Surgeons rarely operate on patients with pancreatic cancer when metastasis is taking place as the surgery tends to accelerate the spread of the cancer," said Dr. Mousa. "If we can keep the cancer cells from attaching to the platelets, we can isolate them in the body. They can then be killed fairly easily by the patient's own immune system or through low levels of chemotherapy. Once that happens, physicians will have a significantly better opportunity to treat the cancer and extend the patient's life."

The Pharmaceutical Research Institute at ACP is dedicated to cutting-edge research, pharmaceutical services and education. PRI's drug discovery efforts focus on angiogenesis, thrombosis and vascular disorders. The Institute is also playing a leading role in the development of nanopharmaceutical technology.

The entire research project is being funded with federal money.

About Albany College of Pharmacy

Founded in 1881, Albany College of Pharmacy is a private, independent institution dedicated to the improvement of health. The College has educational programs and research activities spanning the full spectrum of pharmacy and health sciences - from drug discovery and development to patient counseling and health care to studying health outcomes. More than 1,400 ACP students are pursuing a wide range of career pathways in the health care field through degree programs in pharmacy, pharmaceutical sciences, biomedical technology and health and human sciences.


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