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Anti-cancer drug discovery partnership formed between UMMC and Ole Miss
Date:5/17/2011

JACKSON, Miss. A new partnership to search for cancer-fighting drugs combines compound-identification and screening expertise at the University of Mississippi's National Center for Natural Products Research with the drug development and clinical-trials capabilities at the University of Mississippi Medical Center Cancer Institute.

An agreement announced today between the Oxford-based NCNPR and the Cancer Institute in Jackson creates the Drug Discovery Core, which will be directed by Dr. David Pasco, assistant director of the Natural Products Center and research professor in pharmacognosy.

The drug discovery process begins at the NCNPR, where researchers collect plants and other natural products, create extracts and screens them for activity against given targets. Under the new agreement the most promising anti-cancer compounds will be further isolated and sent to Jackson for development and testing.

"Cancer institutes usually have some type of drug discovery program," Pasco said. "Since Dr. Miele's arrival, Dr. Larry Walker (director of the NCNPR) and I have been talking with him about this venture."

Dr. Lucio Miele took the Cancer Institute directorship in summer 2009. He's worked to expand the institute's research mission by hiring scientists, purchasing high-tech equipment and forging partnerships with other institutions. Founding the Drug Discovery Core is a milestone in that effort.

"Development of new anti-cancer agents is one of the most important aspects if not the most important aspect of cancer research," Miele said. "The Natural Products Center has tremendous experience and this agreement increases the synergy between our two campuses.

"Natural products are a rich source of drug discovery and have yielded some of the most potent drugs we still use -- the best example being Taxol," Miele said, referencing a drug that UM researchers had a hand in developing as the NCNPR was first forming.


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Contact: Jack Mazurak
jmazurak@umc.edu
601-984-1970
University of Mississippi Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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