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Research Highlights

Aug. 21, 2007

New pharmaceuticals in Texas waters, fish

Baylor co-lead investigators Kevin Chambliss, an assistant professor of chemistry, and Bryan Brooks, an assistant professor of environmental and biomedical studies, have found the residue of three new human medications in fish living in Pecan Creek in North Texas. The pharmaceuticals have not been previously identified in fish.

To test the collected fish tissue for pharmaceuticals, Chambliss and Alejandro Ramirez, a Baylor doctoral student in chemistry who is the lead author on the study, developed a new method using a technology called liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry. It can, for the first time, screen fish for up to 25 different drugs at once.

"These results demonstrate the increasing need to consider bioaccumulation of emerging contaminants in the environment," said Chambliss. "This research proves fish are being exposed to multiple compounds in our waterways."

Although treated wastewater may meet current federal testing standards, no guidelines or federal water quality criteria exist for pharmaceuticals, Brooks said.

Expanding cancer treatment research

Two Baylor University researchers have been awarded several significant grants from OXiGENE Inc., an international biopharmaceutical company, to continue and greatly expand their research into new cancer fighting compounds.

The four grants will allow Kevin Pinney, a professor of chemistry and biochemistry, and Mary Lynn Trawick, an associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry, to design, create and test dozens of potential new cancer-fighting compounds

that disrupt solid cancer tumors and target any remaining tumor cells that may grow after the tumor is treated.

"OXiGENE greatly values its continued collaboration with Baylor," said Dr. Dai Chaplin, chief scientific officer at OXiGENE. "We feel that this is a great example of a successful industry-academic relationship, and we look forward to continuing this relationship in the future."

More options for graduates

Baylor University's Institute of Biomedical Studies has signed a two-year inter-institutional agreement with one of the nation's leading cancer research centers, the Mary Crowley Medical Research Center (MCMRC) in Dallas, which will allow Baylor graduate students to conduct their graduate studies in MCMRC labs. All of the students will be conducting research in cancer treatment.

MCMRC is among the premier Phase I and II cancer clinical trial centers in the nation, and has the highest enrollment of patients entered into cancer gene therapy trials.

The new agreement gives Baylor graduate students more options when they decide where to conduct their graduate studies. Currently, students can choose between working in labs at Baylor or at Baylor University Medical Center in Dallas, where they can conduct research ranging from immunology to metabolic diseases. Baylor students will spend between three and five years working in MCMRC labs.

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