2023 Division Of Research Annual Report

NOVA S OU T H E AS T E RN UN I V E R S I T Y Chemotherapy agents often target cancer cell DNA. But cancer cells can evade death by repairing the damage. Worse, such reversals often trigger drug resistance and increase the probability of tumor recurrence. Jean Latimer, Ph.D., and her team homed in on nucleotide excision repair (NER) and invented a way to inhibit genes essential to NER function in malignant cells. This could spur new procedures for treating certain late-stage breast tumors. Latimer’s invention, related to the use of NER treatment of cancer, is available for licensing. Some melanoma treatments render healthy cells toxic. Others are prone to resistance. Preliminary data show that pharmacological and genomic modulation (influencing gene expression levels without changing the cellular DNA) adjusted immune pathways expression. Armed with this, Dmitriy Minond, Ph.D., investigated whether spliceosomal modulation could overcome drug resistance by potentially regulating malignant cells that try to stimulate an immune response. Minond is responsible for two therapeutic patents— one for treating metastatic melanoma and one for treating rheumatoid arthritis. Cerebral amyloid angiopathy (CAA) contributes to the risk of stroke, cognitive decline, and several forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. Evidence suggests that taking some high blood pressure medicines that target the renin-angiotensin system is associated with a reduced risk of dementia, but no one has looked at whether they affect CAA or the buildup of proteins on blood vessel walls. So, Lisa Robison, Ph.D., is testing common drugs for new fields of combat, as repurposed drugs can also reduce the risk of negative effects. Operation NER Operation Spliceosome Operation CAA 15 Scan for more. Scan for more. Scan for more.