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Texas A&M Advances Global Disease Prevention with Launch of Field-to-Clinic Initiative
Date:10/1/2013

d synthesize derivatives of beneficial phytochemicals. Preclinical animal model studies will then be performed in collaboration with researchers at the College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. They will work with the Texas Institute for Preclinical Studies (TIPS) to screen these compounds in naturally occurring and genetically engineered mice supplied by the Texas Institute for Genomic Medicine (TIGM).

Researchers will use the Gulf Coast Consortium for Chemical Genomics screening center at the IBT comprised of high-throughput robotic workstations to evaluate the compounds and look for new “hits” for cancer prevention. The majority of the workstations in this screening center were funded by a $12 million grant from the Cancer Prevention Research Institute of Texas awarded to Pete Davies, M.D., Ph.D., director of IBT’s Center for Translational Cancer Research and IBT associate director. Texas A&M also invested an additional $1 million for an additional workstation to study other non-cancer diseases.

“At the IBT, we now can start screening natural compounds for their ability to kill cancer cells and probe for epigenetic changes that cut across multiple diseases and chronic conditions beyond cancer. This is what makes epigenetics such an exciting area,” Dashwood said. “There is good evidence that natural compounds acting via epigenetic mechanisms will prove beneficial in preventing and treating many diseases. Our initial focus will be on cancer prevention at the earliest stages of the disease, but we have an eye on transitioning our research into conditions such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), neurological disorders and specific childhood illnesses.”

Once identified, the best compounds will then go to the Texas Medical Center for testing in human clinical trials.

“Recruitment of Dr. Dashwood will connect the research activities across the state in new and exciting ways,” said Cheryl Walker, Ph.D., d
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