Proof Points: College of Pharmacy

Scott NakashimadaThe OSU College of Pharmacy is charting new ground in drug discovery, particularly in new treatment for infectious diseases.

  • Research is picking up speed around the world on xanthohumol, a phytochemical found in beer that is being explored by OSU medicinal chemist Fred Stevens. In animal experiments it appears to have lipid-lowering, antioxidant and anti-cancer properties.
  • Faculty with the College of Pharmacy are part of a new signature research center established by the State of Oregon in 2007: OTRADI, or Oregon Translational Research and Drug Discovery Institute, with funding of $5.25 million. Researchers will focus on identification and testing of new pharmaceutical treatments for infectious diseases.
  • Molecular geneticist Chrissa Kioussi created the university’s first transgenic mouse — a genetically modified laboratory animal that has been used to study the role of dietary selenium, and a technological advance for the university that may have huge benefits for a broad range of research. It will be just the first of many that can be produced in a new mouse transgenic facility, which will dramatically cut the costs of certain projects and speed advances in biomedical and other research.

OSU Pharmacy contributes significantly to the health of Oregonians through studies that improve access to care, enhance treatments and open new avenues for research.

  • Pharmacist Ann Zweber is helping to lead a national effort to more aggressively train and involve pharmacy students in becoming the “front line” of medicine, to reach out to underserved populations, those with little insurance, special needs, low income or minority groups.
  • Pharmacy researcher Arup Indra found a key protein which could be crucial for skin development from stem cells, creating the potential to reprogram skin development and find applications in regenerative medicine. This program also found key regulators of lipid metabolism in skin that might be beneficial for developing effective strategies to prevent natural aging and premature skin aging.
  • OSU pharmacists have generated a unique melanoma model for the first time that demonstrates the role of key proteins in cancer-associated epithelial cells. This holds promise for development of novel therapeutic strategies to prevent and cure melanoma.
  • Research by David Bearden found that severely overweight people may not get their prescription medications, especially antibiotics, prescribed at the appropriate dosage – which could cause them to be ineffective. Because most adult antibiotics are produced in a “one size fits all” dosage and some doctors are not attuned to this issue, the societal trend towards severe obesity is resulting in more individuals who get inappropriate drug therapies for infectious disease.
  • Programs in cardiovascular disease pharmacotherapy include clinical trials and pharmacokinetic, pharmacodynamic, metabolic and pharmacoeconomic studies of new and existing lipid-lowering drugs. Other work is trying to improve drug therapy in patients with lipid disorders and congestive heart failure.
  • The College of Pharmacy’s Drug Use Research and Management Program is finding ways to help shape state policies for the cost-effective use of medications for low-income families.
  • Pharmacy researcher Mark Leid identified a protein that’s essential to life but, when “expressed” at too high a level in cells, can lead to their death. The findings could lead to new approaches to cancer chemotherapy, the creation of assays to identify cancer, or improving the effectiveness of existing cancer drugs.

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