Jackson, MS, United States

University of Mississippi Medical Center

Jackson, MS, United States

University of Mississippi Medical Center is the health science campus of the University of Mississippi and is located in Jackson, Mississippi, United States. UMMC is the only academic health science center in the state.UMMC houses the University of Mississippi School of Medicine, University of Mississippi Medical Center School of Dentistry, Nursing, Health Related Professions, Graduate Studies in the Health science and part of the School of Pharmacy.UMMC is also home to the University Hospital and Clinics, a 722-bed tertiary care facility providing about 27,000 inpatient visits and 418,000 outpatient and emergency visits each year. On the Medical Center campus, the University Hospitals and Health System includes the University Hospital, Winfred L. Wiser Hospital for Women & Infants, Blair E. Batson Hospital for Children and, for faculty practice, the University Medical Pavilion.The university is the only hospital in the state designated as a level 1 trauma center. Specialized hospital services include: an interventional MRI; the only level 3 neonatal intensive care unit in the state; separate medical, surgical, cardiac, neuroscience and pediatric ICUs; a heart station for diagnosis and treatment of heart disease; a heart failure clinic; heart, kidney, cornea and bone marrow transplant programs; a comprehensive stroke unit; state-of-the-art radiological imaging systems; a sleep disorders laboratory; an in vitro fertilization program; and special pharmaceutical services.The parcel of land on which the university hospital sits was once the site of the Mississippi Insane Asylum, which moved its operations in 1935 and became Mississippi State Hospital. Wikipedia.

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News Article | May 20, 2017
Site: globenewswire.com

Dallas, TX (SMU), May 19, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The SMU Cox School of Business honored six alumni at the school’s annual Distinguished Alumni and Outstanding Young Alumni Awards Luncheon on Friday, May 19. Three Distinguished Alumni Awards and three Outstanding Young Alumni Awards were presented at a luncheon ceremony in the Collins Executive Center on the SMU campus. Award nominations are submitted to the SMU Cox Alumni Association for consideration by a selection committee. This year’s Distinguished Alumni honorees are, in alphabetical order: Peter T. Dameris, BBA ’82; Kirk L. Rimer, MBA ‘89; and Liz Youngblood, MBA ‘05. Outstanding Young Alumni honorees are: Amber Venz Box, BA ’09; Baxter Box, MBA ’11; and Vik Thapar, MBA ’09. Peter T. Dameris (BBA’82), CEO of On Assignment, Inc., is responsible for overseeing company growth as a leading provider of staffing services in the technology, creative, healthcare technology and life sciences sectors. Since Dameris joined On Assignment in 2003, annual revenue has grown from $200 million to more than $2.4 billion. Fortune Magazine ranked On Assignment the nation’s third fastest growing company in 2014 and the fourth fastest growing company in 2015. In 2012, Staffing Industry Analysts ranked it the country’s second largest IT staffing company. Kirk L. Rimer (MBA ’89) is a principal and co-head of Crow Holdings Capital-Investment Partners, which functions as an outsourced investment office for a select group of partner families. Since joining CHC-Investment Partners in 2011, Rimer has played an integral role in building the firm’s investment strategy and expanding its partner base. Before CHC, he spent 21 years at Goldman Sachs, working with individual investors and corporations on risk management and equity investments. Liz Youngblood (MBA ‘05) serves as CEO of the University of Mississippi Medical Center – Adult Hospitals. She is a veteran senior health care executive who’s held leadership roles in for-profit, nonprofit and academic health care systems. Before she moved into healthcare leadership, she began her career as a nurse, working with thoracic and general surgery patients. Youngblood is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives. She has an extensive background in health care strategy, operations, coordination of care, and operational improvement. Amber Venz Box (BA ’08) is the president and co-founder — with Baxter Box — of rewardStyle, the largest global monetization platform for top-tier style influencers and retail brands. She co-conceptualized and launched rewardStyle at age 23. As the creative visionary behind the company, Venz Box set the tone for rewardStyle’s mission-driven approach to empower content creators’ growth and development. She earned her Bachelor of Arts in Corporate Communication and Public Affairs at the Meadows School of the Arts in 2008. Baxter Box (MBA ’01) is CEO and co-founder — with Amber Venz, now Amber Venz Box — of rewardStyle, the world’s largest monetization platform for top-tier style influencers and retail brands. Baxter began his career as an engineer and investor in several early-stage technology start-ups. The same year he completed his MBA, Amber Venz and Baxter Box conceptualized an effective way to monetize the content of fashion blogs. The company represents one of the most influential and measureable marketing platforms worldwide, with over a million brands and retailers in network. Vik Thapar (MBA ’09) is a principal with Cypress Growth Capital. He has more than 18 years of experience spanning venture capital, private equity and information technology consulting. With the Cypress team, he is responsible for all aspects of the investment lifecycle, from identifying promising companies to providing ongoing support to portfolio companies. While working toward his MBA at Cox, he changed careers, moving from technology consulting to venture capital and private equity. He serves on the Board of Directors of TeXChange, the Southwest Venture Forum at SMU Cox, the U.S.-India Chamber of Commerce and the University of Texas at Dallas Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. SMU Cox Distinguished Alumni must hold: an undergraduate or graduate degree from SMU; a position of distinction in the business community; demonstrate outstanding career success; be active civic leaders and community partners; and be involved with SMU and the Cox School through activities and contributions. Those recognized as SMU Cox Outstanding Young Alumni must meet the same criteria, but can be no more than 40 years of age at the time of the awards luncheon. Nominations for either honor may be sent to Kevin Knox, assistant dean of external relations and executive director of the SMU Cox Alumni Association at kknox@cox.smu.edu. About SMU Cox The SMU Cox School of Business (smu.edu/cox), originally established in 1920 on the campus of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, and was named in honor of benefactor Edwin L. Cox in 1978. SMU Cox is a nationally and internationally ranked business school with undergraduate (BBA) majors in accounting, finance, financial consulting, general business, management, marketing, real estate finance and concentrations in energy management, entrepreneurship, real estate finance and risk management and insurance. The Cox School offers four Master of Business Administration programs including the Executive MBA (EMBA) and Full-Time MBA, Fast Track MBA, and Professional MBA (PMBA), with concentrations in accounting, finance, general business, information technology and operations management, management, marketing, real estate and strategy and entrepreneurship. The school also offers the JD/MBA with Dedman School of Law; MA/MBA with Meadows School of the Arts; Specialized Master’s of Science (MS) programs in Accounting, Business Analytics (Full and Part-Time), Finance, and Management; Sport Management and Health Promotion Management with Simmons School of Education and Human Development; and Engineering/MBA and MS in Engineering Entrepreneurship with the Lyle School of Engineering. For professionals not seeking a degree, SMU Cox Executive Education and multiple certificate programs cover a broad range of disciplines. The Cox School of Business maintains an active alumni network globally. A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/7be7583c-5270-4144-b2c4-5c3e23370559 A photo accompanying this announcement is available at http://www.globenewswire.com/NewsRoom/AttachmentNg/b47de0a6-b597-43c0-9334-0a3fcd0ca28f

News Article | May 29, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

BROOKHAVEN, Miss. (AP) — Head in hands, his voice strained, Vincent Mitchell sat outside his little yellow home and tried to make sense of how a family dispute led to a rampage that killed eight people, including the deputy who tried to keep them safe. "I'm devastated. It don't seem like it's real," Mitchell said shortly after the arrest of his stepson-in-law, Willie Corey Godbolt. "Him and my stepdaughter, they've been going back and forth for a couple of years with that domestic violence." Godbolt showed up at Mitchell's home in the southern Mississippi town of Bogue Chitto shortly before midnight Saturday to demand that his estranged wife give up their two children. She and the kids had been staying with them for about three weeks, Mitchell told The Associated Press. "He'd come to get his kids. The deputy was called," and asked him to leave, and it seemed like Godbolt would comply at first, Mitchell said. "He acted like, motioned like, he was fixing to go. Then he reached in his back pocket and grabbed a gun," Mitchell said. "He just started shooting everything." Mitchell said he escaped along with Godbolt's wife, but Mitchell's wife, her sister and one of the wife's daughters were killed. Also slain was Deputy William Durr, a two-year sheriff's department veteran and former police officer in nearby Brookhaven, where authorities said Godbolt fled and killed four more people at two other homes. Authorities on Monday said Godbolt was related to or acquainted with all the victims except Durr. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation identified them as: Barbara Mitchell, 55; Brenda May, 53; Tocarra May, 35; a child who was not identified; a 17-year-old boy who was not identified; Ferral Burage, 45; and Shelia Burage, 46. Police have not said exactly how Godbolt knew them. A member of Godbolt's church previously told the AP that everyone but the deputy was related to Godbolt by blood or marriage. Mississippi Bureau of Investigation spokesman Warren Strain said prosecutors plan to charge Godbolt, 35, with one count of capital murder and seven counts of first degree murder, but authorities haven't discussed a motive. Strain said those charges could change as the investigation continues. Godbolt was still hospitalized Monday at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. Police have said Godbolt is being treated for a gunshot wound. Godbolt himself shed some light on what happened, in an interview he gave to The Clarion-Ledger (http://on.thec-l.com/2rbQIq5 ) as he sat with his hands cuffed behind his back on the side of a road in Brookhaven, about 70 miles (110 kilometers) south of Jackson. "I was having a conversation with her stepdaddy and her mama and her, my wife, about me taking my children home," he said. "Somebody called the officer, people that didn't even live at the house. That's what they do. They intervene." "They cost him his life," he said, apparently referring to Durr. "I'm sorry." "My pain wasn't designed for him. He was just there," Godbolt said. "I ain't fit to live, not after what I done." Godbolt was hospitalized in good condition with a gunshot wound, though it wasn't clear who shot him. "Everybody that got killed was related to him, except the deputy," said Johnny Hall Sr., a longtime member of the New Zion Union M.B. Church in Bogue Chitto, not far from the initial crime scene, where he said Godbolt also was a member. At least seven hours elapsed between the first shootings and Godbolt's arrest near the final crime scene, in a subdivision of ranch houses. "It breaks everybody's heart," said Garrett Smith, a 19-year-old college student who went to high school with one of the victims. "Everybody knows everybody for the most part." Durr, 36, was married and had an 11-year-old son, Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing said. Durr's mother spoke briefly with the AP on Monday, saying that the family is still in distress. "He was a good Christian man," Debbie Durr said at her rural home near Brookhaven. "He was a youth minister and a pastor before going into law enforcement." Off duty, Durr also was a ventriloquist who took his puppets to schools and churches. Two weeks ago, Durr entertained preschoolers at Brookhaven Academy, a Christian school in town. The message he shared was that — like fireflies — people can use their inner light to help those around them. "His character: top-notch," said Page Nelson, the school's elementary principal. Godbolt had a different message — he said he hadn't planned to be captured alive. "My intentions was to have God kill me. I ran out of bullets," he said. "Suicide by cop was my intention." Associated Press writers Russ Bynum in Savannah, Georgia; Jeff Amy in Metairie, Louisiana; Justin Pritchard in Los Angeles; and Kathleen Foody in Atlanta contributed to this report.

University of Michigan and University of Mississippi Medical Center | Date: 2015-04-28

Provided herein is technology relating to treatment of sepsis and particularly, but not exclusively, to methods for predicting a response of a sepsis patient to treatment with L-carnitine.

News Article | May 28, 2017
Site: news.yahoo.com

Officers arrest suspect Willie Corey Godbolt on Sunday, May 28, 2017, following several fatal shootings Saturday in Lincoln County, Miss., officials said. (Therese Apel/The Clarion-Ledger via AP) BROOKHAVEN, Miss. (AP) — The Latest in a shooting in Mississippi that left eight people dead (all times local): The man suspected of killing a sheriff's deputy and seven others in rural Mississippi is listed in good condition at a hospital. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation says Willie Corey Godbolt is being treated for a gunshot wound. University of Mississippi Medical Center spokesman Gary Pettus says Godbolt was taken to the emergency room about 70 miles from the area where authorities arrested him Sunday morning. Authorities say the 35-year-old Godbolt shot and killed people at three locations. A witness tells The Associated Press that he had been arguing with his estranged wife about their children when he opened fire inside his in-laws' home after the sheriff's deputy arrived. Godbolt's stepfather-in-law, Vincent Mitchell, says the slayings "all stemmed from domestic violence." A Mississippi sheriff's deputy who was among eight people slain in a shooting rampage is being remembered by his boss as "a great guy." Lincoln County Sheriff Steve Rushing told The Daily Leader (http://bit.ly/2rcVdka) that Deputy William Durr "had a heart of gold" and "would go out of his way to help anybody." Rushing says Durr was married and had an 11-year-old son. Authorities say the 36-year-old deputy was killed Saturday when he responded to a call about a domestic disturbance. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation says a gunman killed eight people at three different crime scenes. Durr's off-duty hobby was ventriloquism and he would take his puppets to schools and churches to perform for children. Durr told the newspaper in 2014 he picked up the hobby at age 8. A witness says a Mississippi man had been arguing with his estranged wife about their children when he opened fire inside his in-laws' home after a sheriff's deputy arrived. Vincent Mitchell told The Associated Press in an interview Sunday the slayings of eight people "all stemmed from domestic violence." Mitchell says three family members were killed at his home. He says: "I'm devastated. It don't seem like it's real." He's the stepfather-in-law of suspect Willie Corey Godbolt. He says Godbolt came to his home Saturday to talk with his wife about taking their two children. Mitchell says Godbolt appeared to be leaving after a sheriff's deputy was called to the house. But "then he reached into his back pocket. He started shooting." Mitchell says his wife, Barbara Mitchell, was killed along with her daughter, Toccarra May, and the wife's sister, Brenda May. The deputy was also slain. Mitchell says he and the suspect's wife escaped. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation says the 35-year-old Godbolt has been arrested and is in custody. Authorities say a shooting spree that left eight people dead in Mississippi began with a call regarding a domestic dispute. The Mississippi Bureau of Investigation said in a news release Sunday that three female victims and a Lincoln County sheriff's deputy were killed. More bodies were found at two other crime scenes — two boys were slain at the second location and a male and a female victim were discovered at the third. The MBI identified the slain deputy as 36-year-old William Durr, who served two years at the Lincoln County Sheriff's Department and four years with Brookhaven police. Names of the other victims were not immediately released. The MBI said the suspect, 35-year-old Willie Corey Godbolt, was apprehended Sunday and was being treated for a gunshot wound at a Jackson hospital. The news release did not say whether he had been charged. Mississippi's governor has decried the killings of eight people who were shot to death in a rural area about 60 miles south of Jackson. Gov. Phil Bryant asked for all of the state's residents to join him and his wife in praying for those who were killed late Saturday. He noted the "sacrifice" made by law enforcement officers to protect and serve their communities. A Lincoln County sheriff's deputy was among the eight killed. Authorities in Mississippi say a suspect is in custody after eight people were killed in a shooting, including a sheriff's deputy. Mississippi Bureau of Investigation spokesman Warren Strain said the shootings occurred at three separate homes Saturday night in rural Lincoln County. Strain says charges have not yet been filed against the suspect and that it would be "premature" to discuss a motive. It was not clear whether the suspect knew his victims before allegedly killing them.

Zika Virus - What You Should Know Ticked Off! Here's What You Need To Know About Lyme Disease Ebola - What You Should Know Up to 7,000 bodies may be buried on the campus of the University of Mississippi Medical Center. If you are wondering whose bodies these are, they are former patients of Insane Asylum, the state’s first mental institution that opened in 1855. Underground radar revealed that the coffins cover 20 acres inside the campus, where officials have intended to build, reported USA Today. But there’s a steep cost they have to face to exhume as well as rebury each body, which is $3,000 each or up to $21 million in total. For UMMC, there’s a cheaper alternative available, which is to handle the exhumations on their own or at a price of $400,000 every year for eight years at a minimum. The endeavor would also involve a memorial that will preserve the 7,000 remains and includes a visitors center and a laboratory for studying them and their clothing and coffin remnants. “It would be a unique resource for Mississippi,” said associate professor Molly Zuckerman, adding it would make the state a national center offering a wealth of historical data on health in pre-modern times, specifically of institutionalized individuals. The lab, according to Ralph Didlake of the campus’s Center for Bioethics and Medical Humanities, is likely the first of its kind in the United States, covering asylum history from the 1800s to the early 1900s. Their group, dubbed the Asylum Hill Research Consortium, gathers archeologists, anthropologists, and historians to develop the initiative for an asylum memorial and visitors center. In 1855, the state’s first mental institution was completed after reform personality Dorothea Dix lobbied for the funding of its construction. It took $175,000 for the asylum to become a reality. Prior to the asylum’s existence, there were grave conditions for mental health patients, who were chained and had a sizable number die, according to state board of health chair Luke Lampton. The center eventually grew to shelter 300 patients and became known as Asylum Hill, where houses, a school, and a Baptist church for former slaves could be found. At its prime, the facility had about 6,000 patients, and employment was aplenty. Mississippi moved the center in 1935 to its current location, the State Hospital at Whitfield. About 20 years later, UMMC construction started on that very hill. It was in 2013 when campus officials found 66 coffins while building a road. The following year, they employed underground radar and discovered 1,000 coffins, where the numbers are now estimated to be as high as 7,000. “We have inherited these patients. We want to show them care and respectful management,” he said. © 2017 Tech Times, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.

News Article | May 8, 2017
Site: www.chromatographytechniques.com

Four years ago, teams doing some minor roadwork dug into the clay on the campus of the University of Mississippi Medical Center. They found 66 coffins buried from the former Mississippi State Asylum, which had operated for nearly a century before the modern hospital opened. It was not the first such discovery: 44 unmarked graves came to light in the early 1990s, during some digging for a steam line for a laundry facility. At the time, experts said there may be more coffins somewhere on the site. But the estimates now far exceed what was thought years ago. Some 7,000 graves are thought to be on the campus, according to the local newspaper The Clarion-Ledger. The patients apparently died at the State Asylum between its opening in 1855 and the 1935 closing. (The modern medical campus started operations in 1955). The cost of excavating and reburying the bodies could be staggering: $21 million total. The alternate plan is to begin an in-house operation for more than $3 million over eight years, which includes the establishment of a memorial and laboratory to study the remains, according to the newspaper. The asylum over its 80-year history in Jackson treated thousands of patients – many of whom apparently died in the state’s care and were then buried without markers at the site far to the east of the actual asylum grounds. Shortly after finding the 66 graves from the roadwork, hospital officials undertook a parking garage. But underground radar revealed a total of 2,000 coffins resting underground on the land, the newspaper reported. Further investigation indicates that 7,000 graves total are spread across the grounds. The bodies from the Mississippi State Asylum will require major funding to properly investigate and ethically handle, Molly Zuckerman, a biological anthropologist at Mississippi State University, told Laboratory Equipment. “Removal of the bodies will cost hundreds of thousands to- millions of dollars because ethical and professional standards within archaeology have to be followed in their removal,” she said.  “However, there are very, very few grants available, whether private of federal (public), which cover excavation expenses, and none that I know of are large enough to cover anticipated removal costs.” Zuckerman and some colleagues at Mississippi State, as well as at Texas State University and elsewhere, have begun to present some of the findings from the 66 bodies unearthed during the road project. Three projects from the Mississippi State Asylum investigators were presented at last month’s annual meeting of the American Association of Physical Anthropology in New Orleans, Zuckerman said. One involved sequencing the bacterial DNA from the teeth of four skeletons, to determine the prevalence of disease in the pre-antibiotic era of the beginning of the 20th century. Another focused on the frequency of deaths from pellagra, a vitamin B deficiency, among 19 skeleton samples. The third focused on a wider investigation, placing the 66 bodies among the roughly 10,000 people who were documented to have died at the asylum before its closing. This final investigation used tree dating of the wood in a single coffin, as well as radioactive isotope and dental chemistry of the body within, to determine lifestyle – and potentially even the identity of the person.

Wang J.M.,University of Mississippi Medical Center
Frontiers in Cellular Neuroscience | Year: 2014

Reinstalling the neurobiological circuits to effectively change the debilitating course of neurodegenerative diseases is of utmost importance. This reinstallation requires generation of new cells which are able to differentiate into specific types of neurons and modification of the local environment suitable for integration of these new neurons into the neuronal circuits. Allopregnanolone (APα) seems to be involved in both of these processes, and therefore, is a potential neurotrophic agent. Loss of dopamine neurons in the substantia nigra (SN) is one of the main pathological features of Parkinson's and also in, at least, a subset of Alzheimer's patients. Therefore, reinstallation of the dopamine neurons in nigrostriatal tract is of unique importance for these neurodegenerative diseases. However, for the neurogenic status and the roles of allopregnanolone in the nigrostriatal tract, the evidence is accumulating and debating. This review summarizes recent studies regarding the neurogenic status in the nigrostriatal tract. Furthermore, special attention is placed on evidence suggesting that reductions in allopregnenalone levels are one of the major pathological features in PD and AD. This evidence has also been confirmed in brains of mice that were lesioned with 1-methyl-4-phenyl-1,2,3,6-tetrahydropyridine (MPTP) or those bearing neurodegenerative mutations. Lastly, we highlight studies showing that allopregnanalone can augment the number of total cells and dopaminergic neurons via peripheral exogenous administration. © 2014 Wang.

Fox E.R.,University of Mississippi Medical Center
Circulation | Year: 2011

Lower plasma B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) concentrations in obese individuals ("natriuretic handicap") may play a role in the pathogenesis of obesity-related hypertension. Whether this phenomenon may contribute to hypertension in blacks is unknown. We tested the hypothesis that body mass index is inversely related to BNP concentrations in blacks. We examined the relation of plasma BNP to body mass index in 3742 Jackson Heart Study participants (mean age, 55 ± 13; 62% women) without heart failure using multivariable linear and logistic regression, adjusting for clinical and echocardiographic covariates. The multivariable-adjusted mean BNP was higher for lean participants compared with obese participants in both normotensive (P<0.0001) and hypertensive (P<0.0012) groups. In sex-specific analyses, the adjusted mean BNP was higher in lean hypertensive individuals compared with obese hypertensive individuals for both men (20.5 versus 10.9 pg/mL, respectively; P=0.0009) and women (20.0 versus 13.8 pg/mL; P=0.011). The differences between lean and obese participants were more pronounced in normotensive participants (men, 9.0 versus 4.4 pg/mL; P<0.0001; women, 12.8 versus 8.4 pg/mL; P=0.0005). For both hypertensive and normotensive individuals in the pooled sample, multivariable-adjusted BNP was significantly related to both continuous body mass index (P<0.05 and P<0.0001, respectively) and categorical body mass index (P for trend <0.006 and <0.0001, respectively). Our cross-sectional study of a large community-based sample of blacks demonstrates that higher body mass index is associated with lower circulating BNP concentrations, thereby extending the concept of a natriuretic handicap in obese individuals observed in non-Hispanic whites to this high-risk population.

Gomez-Sanchez E.P.,University of Mississippi Medical Center
Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism | Year: 2011

A small proportion of brain mineralocorticoid receptors (MR) mediate control of blood pressure, water and electrolyte balance, sodium appetite, and sympathetic drive to the periphery. Circulating inflammatory cytokines modulate MR-mediated changes in sympathoexcitation. Aldosterone binding to MR in the brain occurs, despite concentrations that are 2-3 orders of magnitude less than those of cortisol and corticosterone, which have similar affinity for the MR. The possible mechanisms for selective MR activation by aldosterone, the cellular mechanisms of MR action and the effects of brain MR on hemodynamic homeostasis are considered in this review. MR antagonists are valuable adjuncts to the treatment of chronic cardiovascular and renal disease; the crucial need to discover targets for development of selective therapy for specific MR functions is also discussed. © 2011.

Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Accelerating Innovation Rsrch | Award Amount: 199.99K | Year: 2016

This PFI: AIR Technology Translation project, Thermally Targeted Biopolymers for the Delivery of Anticancer Drugs, focuses on translating a thermally responsive biopolymer technology into a new cancer treatment drug delivery system. This system has the potential to improve outcomes and reduce drawbacks now experienced by patients during cancer treatment. Currently, only a small fraction of chemotherapeutic drugs reach tumor sites. The rest of these drugs, systemically administered at dosages strong enough to eradicate cancer cells, are distributed throughout the body, causing extensive damage to normal tissue. The developed drug delivery system attaches a powerful chemo-drug, Doxorubicin, to a thermally responsive, biopolymer, elastin-like polypeptide (ELP). At physiological temperatures (37ºC), this ELP exists in a more liquid state (soluble). However, the ELP can be prompted by an externally applied, clinically available, mild hyperthermia (40-41°C) to undergo a phase transition (into being more solid) and aggregate at the tumor site. To help these aggregated ELPs and their attached Doxorubicin enter the tumor cells at this site, a cell-penetrating peptide (CPP), is also conjugated to the ELP. This drug delivery system thus makes an innovative use of conjugated drug delivery biopolymers, an external, localizing heat, and a peptide able to mediate entry into cancer cells, where it can release the Doxorubicin for a more targeted and efficient tumor cell uptake and action.

The project will yield an externally triggered drug delivery system that can greatly improve the selective delivery of anti-cancer drugs to breast tumors by its unique exploitation of three key features: (1) the passive targeting properties of macromolecular carriers deriving from the enhanced permeability and retention effect, (2) active drug targeting to tumor sites by a clinically available external trigger, and (3) efficient, intracellular tumor drug delivery mediated by a cell penetrating peptide to reduce tumor growth, improve treatment outcomes, and retain better patient quality of life. The developed drug delivery system confers important advantages over competing systems based on drug-polymer conjugates, drug antibody conjugates, liposomes, and nano- and microparticles: (1) this drug delivery system enhances drug half-life and improves drug pharmacokinetic profile; (2) ELP modification by a CPP dramatically (15-20 fold) enhances cellular uptake, yielding more efficient tumor vasculature penetration and greatly enhancing efficacy in both tumor cell entry and the targeting of specific cellular compartments; (3) the water-solubility of lipophilic or water-insoluble drugs can be attained/much improved by their coupling to ELP biopolymers; (4) ELP biopolymers, based on simple genetic code, are simple and inexpensive to manufacture, can be easily modified to add therapeutic peptides for intracellular targeting, and can contain more than one drug, permitting their use in combination therapy. With this targeted drug delivery system, therapeutic drugs can be administered at maximum tolerated dose, but with substantially reduced side effects, resulting in greatly increased cancer treatment efficacy. The system thus addresses current drug delivery technology limitations and yields a competitive advantage over existing approaches for treating localized tumors, one better targeting tumor cells and sparing healthy tissue.

In addition, through a structured program of seminars and workshops, graduate students and post-docs will be guided in recognizing and implementing key steps for advancing the commercial potential of research. They will be introduced to case-based business research and collaboration, as well as regulatory and market research skills, crucial to creating viable business plans that permit the translation of vital research discoveries to the marketplace where their potential benefits can be maximized. The project engages CytRx Inc., a biopharmaceutical research and development company specializing in oncology, to provide guidance on technological aspects of the project and its technology translation from research discovery to commercial reality.

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