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Skaggs Scholars Receive Research Funding for Inflammatory Disease and Cancer Treatments

Skaggs Scholars

Skaggs Scholars from left to right: Dr. Nick Natale, Dr. Howard Beall, Dr. Andrij Holian

University of Montana and University of Colorado Skaggs Scholars Receive Research Funding for Inflammatory Disease and Cancer Treatments

Dr. Andrij Holian, Director of UM’s Center for Environmental Health Sciences and Dr. Tom Anchordoquy, faculty at the University of Colorado’s School of Pharmacy, received $100,000 funding for a two-year research study funded by a grant from the ALSAM foundation over the summer.

Also receiving two-year $100,000 funding from the ALSAM foundation are Drs. Nick Natale and Howard Beall, professors in UM’s Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences and Dr. Philip Reigan of the University of Colorado, also faculty at the University of Colorado’s School of Pharmacy.

The Skaggs Scholars Program, centered at the University of Colorado and funded by a generous grant from The ALSAM Foundation, is designed to stimulate collaborative research between Colorado pharmacy faculty members and faculty members at one or more of the five other Skaggs institutions, including the University of California at San Diego, Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences; the Idaho State University, College of Pharmacy; the University of Montana, Skaggs School of Pharmacy; the Scripps Research Institute, Skaggs Institute for Chemical Biology; and the University of Utah, College of Pharmacy.

Dr. Holian’s study is focused on a two-pronged approach that takes advantage of the normal sorting pathways within cells to cause pharmaceutical drugs to be stored within cells wherein they alter cell function to achieve increased therapeutic benefits. In addition, molecules that are capable of arresting inflammation can be directed to appropriate cellular regions to relieve inflammatory responses that contribute to a wide variety of chronic diseases including Asthma, Atherosclerosis and Fibrosis.

Drs. Howard Beall and Nick Natale’s research project is focused on the development of new therapeutic agents for Glioblastoma, a highly malignant form of brain cancer. The lead compounds in the study known as aryl isoxazole amides, or AIMs, interact with a novel molecular target in which DNA adopts a unique shape in three dimensions, known as a G-quadruplex. Drugs that bind to and stabilize G-quadruplex DNA have the potential for unprecedented selectivity as anticancer treatments.

These collaborative projects will utilize the unique expertise of five principal investigators and the combined resources of the University of Montana and the University of Colorado. Grant awards were made on a competitive basis to faculty members at the University of Colorado who have made collaborative arrangements with researchers at one or more of the earlier named Skaggs institutions.

The Center for Environmental Health Sciences is a division of the Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences and College of Health Professions and Biomedical Sciences at the University of Montana.

For more information about the Center for Environmental Health Sciences, please visit:  http://cehsweb.health.umt.edu/

For more information about the Department of Biomedical and Pharmaceutical Sciences, please visit:  http://biomed.health.umt.edu/