UB Receives Kresge Challenge Grant to Support Center for Drug Discovery and Experimental Therapeutics

Release Date: November 28, 2000 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- The prestigious Kresge Foundation has approved a $500,000 Science Initiative grant -- a first for the University at Buffalo -- for UB's School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

The university has earned the first $250,000 of the grant by meeting an initial challenge to raise at least $500,000 for equipment to support the school's Center for Drug Discovery and Experimental Therapeutics (CDDET). Major contributors included The Community Foundation for Greater Buffalo, Bristol-Myers Squibb Corporation and the National Institutes of Health.

To receive the final $250,000 from The Kresge Foundation, UB has 18 months to raise $1 million for an endowment fund to support the center through equipment maintenance, operating costs and replacement of the scientific instrumentation core.

Noting that $340,000 already has been pledged for the endowment fund, UB President William R. Greiner said he is confident the community and the university will raise the rest of the money needed to meet The Kresge Foundation challenge.

"The Kresge Foundation's generosity will foster interdisciplinary research in drug discovery and development, and facilitate the training of students who will be the researchers and practitioners of the future," said Greiner.

He added: "This is UB's first Kresge Foundation challenge grant, and thus, it is a significant milestone in our philanthropic efforts. We're extremely grateful to the Kresge Foundation for this challenge grant, which will be an important part of the Campaign for UB."

Wayne K. Anderson, dean of the School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, said, "This grant is very important because it expands and supports a center unique to Western New York as it encourages collaborative and interdisciplinary research into new drug therapies for a range of diseases."

Anderson added that the instrumentation core will be particularly valuable in the emerging field of pharmacogenomics, which uses information from the Human Genome Project to measure and manage patient responses to anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer drugs.

Researchers use the sophisticated equipment to look for changes in the expression level of specific genes as cells and tissues respond to drugs. These response patterns may comprise fingerprints of the action of specific drugs. Understanding these "fingerprints" and how they change with different drugs can lead to discoveries of new drugs. It also can help clinicians determine when drug dosing has achieved effective levels to help them identify those patients who may benefit from a particular treatment. Or conversely, when the drug is reaching toxic levels and having an adverse effect on the patient, they can change the treatment regimen. By detecting cellular responses to drugs at the gene level, UB scientists seek to develop and optimize therapies more quickly for cancer, organ transplants, autoimmune disorders and other diseases.

As of September when the university officially received notification of the grant, it was one of 162 nonprofit institutions worldwide to share $103,385,000 in grant monies given so far this year by the foundation. John E. Marshall, III, president and CEO of The Kresge Foundation, explained why UB and the others were chosen: "This diverse group is responding to the new challenges presented by their communities or sustaining activities that have demonstrated their effectiveness."

Grants are made toward projects involving construction or renovation of facilities and the purchase of major capital equipment or real estate. Last year, the foundation reviewed 579 proposals and awarded 203 challenge grants to organizations operating in the areas of higher education, health and long-term care, arts and humanities, human services, science and the environment, and public affairs.

The Kresge Foundation, based in Troy, Mich., is an independent, private foundation created by the personal gifts of Sebastian S. Kresge. It is not affiliated with any corporation or organization.

For more information on the CDDET and the pharmaceutical instrumentation facility, check http://www.CDDET.buffalo.edu.

For information on how you can support the University at Buffalo, go to http://www.buffalo.edu/giving.