SBIR Phase I:Gene signature screening for Pancreatic Cancer Therapeutics from Sonoran Desert extracts
National Science Foundation
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Small Business Information
PO Box 64326, Tucson, AZ, 85728
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project is designed to discover compounds from a unique Natural Products Library that block the altered patterns of gene expression seen in pancreatic cancer. The extract and fraction library to be screened is from Dr. Gunatilaka at the University of Arizona and are derived from Sonoran desert plants and their associated microorganisms. These organisms have a high capacity to produce a variety of secondary metabolites, often in large quantities, which are essential for their survival as they are constantly exposed to a harsh, hot and dry environment. Thus, these extracts may contain a wealth of pharmacologically important small molecules. The first goal will be to identify extracts that block pancreatic-cancer-specific gene expression and then test whether they are also capable of inhibiting growth/proliferation of pancreatic cancer cells. The long term goal is to develop a targeted therapeutic for pancreatic cancer. The broader/commercial impacts of this research are novel non-toxic drugs that can treat pancreatic cancer for which no effective therapy exists. Pancreatic cancer ranks fourth among the leading causes of cancer deaths in the United States with an estimated death toll of 35,240 for 2009, roughly equal to the number of new patients for the same year. An effective therapeutic would reduce direct medical costs for treatment, estimated to be $881 million annually in the US, including hospitalization costs, outpatient costs, and home and long-term care. In addition it would hold the hope of returning patients to a productive life.
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