UB Program Boosts Translational Science Throughout Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus

Second round of funding is announced as first round winners present advances in detecting, treating cancers and developing more powerful research tools

Release Date: October 17, 2011

BUFFALO, N.Y. -- Clinical and translational science is designed to speed the time it takes to propel important new medical tests, treatments and cures out of the laboratory, right to the physicians and their patients who need them. But to accomplish this, scientists and physicians need some new tools.

Research aimed at developing these new tools, created at UB and Roswell Park Cancer Institute, will be highlighted Oct. 21 from 2 - 4 p.m. at the First Annual Clinical and Translational Research Colloquium on Pilot Studies and Novel Technologies.

The free colloquium, open to all Buffalo area scientists, researchers and clinicians, will take place in the Zebro Conference Room on the Buffalo Niagara Medical Campus on Virginia Street, between Michigan and Ellicott.

Scientists who will present their research at the colloquium won pilot-studies grants in the first round of funding under a new program to support studies in clinical and translational research that are most likely to lead to extramural funding initiated by the Buffalo Clinical and Translational Research Center (http://www.buffaloctrc.org/).

A second round of pilot-studies funding is now open. Interested applicants should go to http://www.buffaloctrc.org/index.php/news/entries/new_round_of_pilot_studies_funds_now_available_to_btc_investigators/

The idea for the program was first advanced as part of a multi-institution strategic planning effort by the Buffalo Translational Consortium to grow clinical and translational research in Buffalo, led by Timothy F. Murphy, MD, senior associate dean for clinical and translational science in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and SUNY Distinguished Professor of Medicine.

"This is tremendous institutional support," Murphy says of the program, which is funded by the dean's offices of UB's five health sciences schools, the Office of the Vice President for Research, the Office of the Vice President for Health Sciences and Roswell Park.

"To be able to say, especially in these tight financial times, that these units at UB and Roswell Park have committed to allocating a total of $200,000 each year to fund these high-level, interdisciplinary pilot studies in order to attract major external funding demonstrates a powerful commitment on behalf of clinical and translational science here in Buffalo," he says.

Murphy says that the grant winners were the ones best able to demonstrate a promising plan to obtain external funding while also exhibiting interdisciplinary collaboration, which is a critical piece of clinical and translational science.

"The research that is being exhibited at the colloquium and the grants that will be awarded in the second round of funding really bridge the biomedical research institutions in Buffalo," says Murphy.

The following research studies will be presented at the colloquium:

--Olagnostic and prognostic potential of serum mRNA expression in prostate cancer, which studies the use of microRNA as a biomarker for characterizing prostate cancer; PI is Moray Campbell of the Department of Pharmacology and Therapeutics, Roswell Park

--System pharmacological analysis of molecularly target agents in pancreatic cancer: pharmacodynamic design of novel therapeutic trials, to develop a new predictive pharmacologic model to better understand drug-cancer-patient interactions in pancreatic cancer; PI is Wen Wee Ma, Department of Medicine, Roswell Park

--Use of niacin to overcome aspirin resistance, to study niacin's use in people with low HDL cholesterol; PI is Nicholas Norgard, UB Department of Pharmacy Practice

--Proteomic analysis of laser microdissected biopsy samples: transforming individualized therapy of prostate cancer, to identify potential disease/therapy markers in prostate cancer tissues from biopsy samples; PI is Jun Qu, UB Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

--Development of a small animal single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and computed tomography (CT) dual functional imager with an X-ray detector, to develop better ways to do non-invasive, in vivo animal imaging; PI is Rutao Yao, UB Department of Nuclear Medicine

The award program for Novel Clinical and Translational Methodologies is directed by Steven J. Fliesler, Meyer H. Riwchun Endowed Chair Professor, vice chairman and director of research in the UB Department of Ophthalmology and Ira G. Ross Eye Institute Vision Research Center and professor of biochemistry; the award program for Pilot and Collaborative Translational and Clinical Studies is directed by Leonard H. Epstein, SUNY Distinguished Professor of Pediatrics in the UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and the departments of community health and health behavior and social and preventive medicine in the School of Public Health and Health Professions.

Both Fliesler and Epstein will address the colloquium.

The five participating health sciences schools at UB that are providing funding for the pilot grants are the School of Dental Medicine, UB School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, the School of Nursing, the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and the School of Public Health and Health Professions. In addition, some of the studies involve researchers from the UB School of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

The University at Buffalo is a premier research-intensive public university, a flagship institution in the State University of New York system and its largest and most comprehensive campus. UB's more than 28,000 students pursue their academic interests through more than 300 undergraduate, graduate and professional degree programs. Founded in 1846, the University at Buffalo is a member of the Association of American Universities.

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