The American Cancer Society has awarded a four-year, nearly $800,000 grant to University of Florida College of Pharmacy researchers who are pursuing next-generation cancer therapeutics for patients. Led by principal investigator, Rob Huigens, Ph.D., an assistant professor of medicinal chemistry, the grant establishes a drug discovery pipeline to generate and identify new small molecules that possess anticancer activities. The pipeline begins with chemical synthesis efforts to alter the ring structure of alkaloids and produce large quantities of diverse compound libraries. Researchers then biologically screen the compounds against multiple cancer cell lines, including colorectal and breast cancer cells, to identify any anticancer activities. Promising compounds may continue down the pipeline into pre-clinical studies to determine in vivo efficacy in various tumor models.
Other UF College of Pharmacy collaborators on the study include, Hendrik Luesch, Ph.D., a professor and chair of medicinal chemistry and the Debbie and Sylvia DeSantis Chair in Natural Products Drug Discovery and Development, and Ranjala Ratnayake, Ph.D., a research assistant professor of medicinal chemistry.