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How Low Can You Go?

For patients with diabetes and heart disease, less isn’t always more — at least when it comes to blood pressure. New data show an increased risk of heart attack, stroke or death for patients having blood pressure deemed too high — or  too low, according to Rhonda Cooper-DeHoff, Pharm.D., an associate professor of pharmacy and medicine at UF. She reported her findings in March at the American College of Cardiology’s 59th annual scientific session in Atlanta. She recommends raising the systolic bar above 120 for blood pressure in patients with diabetes and coronary artery disease, saying that levels between 130 and 140 appear to be the most healthful.

On Call: MTM Call Center Helps Patients Manage Prescriptions

Imagine sitting in your den, chatting with your pharmacist over a cup of coffee. For one uninterrupted hour it’s just you, your prescription medications and your pharmacist — answering your questions. In a partnership with national health plan company WellCare Health Plans, Inc., the UF College of Pharmacy is receiving $2.5 million to establish a Medication Therapy Management Call Center. The call center satisfies a government requirement for health-plan providers of the Medicare prescription drug benefit to provide once a year comprehensive medication review with quarterly follow ups, called Medication Therapy Management (MTM).

Antibacterial agent could cause pregnancy problems

A chemical found in everything from antibacterial soaps and lotions to socks may disrupt an enzyme that plays an important role in pregnancy, University of Florida researchers say. Thought to be harmless, triclosan gives many soaps and lotions their antibacterial oomph and is found in hundreds of popular products.

Distinguished Professor Earns Double Recognition in Drug Development

The process of bringing one new drug to market can take a decade and hundreds of millions of dollars. Hartmut Derendorf, a distinguished professor in the UF College of Pharmacy, is finding ways to tighten expenses and shorten timelines while balancing patient variability, drug safety and effectiveness against all possible risks. His work was recognized by two national pharmacy organizations this year. In July he received the 2010 Volwiler Research Achievement Award from the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy at its annual meeting in Seattle. “Dr. Derendorf is an exceptional leader and teacher. He is not only known for his incredible contributions to pharmaceutical education, but for his leadership and mentorship to advance research that is vital to the academic community,” said Lucinda L. Maine, Ph.D., R.Ph., AACP executive vice president and CEO, when she presented the award.

Compound discovered in Florida Keys shows early promise as colon cancer treatment

A chemical compound made from a type of bacteria discovered in the Florida Keys by a University of Florida pharmacy researcher has shown effectiveness in fighting colon cancer in preclinical experiments. Writing online in the Journal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics, scientists say the compound — known as largazole because it was first found near Key Largo — inhibits human cancer cell growth in cultures and rodent models by attacking a class of enzymes involved in the packaging and structure of DNA. More study is needed, but scientists hope that the discovery will lead to new treatments for the roughly 50,000 people struck with colorectal cancer each year in the United States. Researchers are enthusiastic because in addition to having the marine bacteria as a natural source of the chemical, they have been able to synthetically produce the active chemical compound extracted from the bacteria.

Pharmacogenomic Researcher Awarded $10.6M

A University of Florida genetics researcher has received $10.6 million to further a national effort to use genetic data to more effectively pinpoint which medications and treatments are best for individual patients. Julie A. Johnson, Pharm.D., the V. Ravi Chandran Professor in Pharmaceutical Sciences and chair of pharmacotherapy and translational research in the College of Pharmacy, is one of 14 researchers who have received a five-year award as part of the National Institute of Health’s Pharmacogenomics Research Network.

UF marine researchers rush to collect samples as oil threat grows

In a race against time, University of Florida marine researchers are hurrying to collect underwater marine algae samples in the Florida Keys while an ever-growing Gulf oil spill steadily migrates toward Florida, already reaching the Emerald Coast in the Panhandle.

UF researchers discovery may help the human body self heal

Hendrik Luesch collaborating with researchers at Harvard and Scripps, published his findings. Researchers from the University of Florida have discovered a molecule that may help enhance our body’s natural antioxidant self-healing powers without the help of vitamins. This discovery could potentially help people stay healthy and disease free.  …

Research on Brain Chemicals May Lead to Treatment of Alcoholism

Alcohol-related problems cost society in economic terms approximately $185 billion a year, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. The catastrophic costs in human terms cannot be determined. Addiction to alcohol results in human tragedy not only to the individual but also for families who love and support those caught in this grim illness. Joanna Peris, Ph.D., an associate professor in the department of pharmacodynamics in the College of Pharmacy, is conducting basic research that looks at the changes in neurochemistry in the brains of rats choosing to drink alcohol. This research may discover what chemicals cause the cravings for alcohol and lead to a breakthrough in how to control the urge to drink too much. “My research will help us understand what goes on in the brain during excessive drinking,” Peris said. “This may lead us to come up with a therapy.”