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Professor emeritus to visit China

| Thursday, November 6, 2014

Emeritus chemistry professor Subhash Basu is scheduled to present the lecture, “Characterization of Biosimilar Anti-cancer Agents Using Apoptosis Assays,” in Suzhou, China on Nov. 20 as part of the 12th Annual Congress of International Drug Discovery Science and Technology (IDDST).

The theme of the conference, “Shaping the Bright Future of Drug Discovery,” is part of a larger effort to provide “the perfect meeting place to exchange information and discuss breaking scientific discovery toward enabling technologies that are driving bio/pharmaceutical innovations, the drug discovery and development process,” according to the IDDST invitation letter.

“I think at least 200 people are going to talk in four days, so [the conference] is very important,” Basu said. “You increase your horizons of known people. Not only do you sell your product, but you also get ideas, so it’s very important to get an invitation from there and interact with those people all over the world.”

Basu said conference attendees include vice presidents, CEOs and directors from some of the largest research and pharmaceutical companies around the globe. Although the conference includes many aspects of the drug delivery process, Basu said he is presenting on the use of liposomes in cancer drug delivery.

“The research is focused on finding new chemicals, which can kill cancer cells,” he said.

Basu, who has worked at Notre Dame for the past 44 years in the area of breast and colon cancer drug discovery, said the goal of his lab is to use the smallest and least toxic dose of chemicals to cause cancer cells death without harming normal cells.

“The dying of normal cells means the DNA gets degraded, but cancer cells, they don’t want to die,” he said. “They are immortal.”

15 years ago, Basu said an undergraduate in his lab ran an experiment using the anti-cancer chemotherapy drug, Cisplatin. Results of the experiment showed that Cisplatin killed cancer cells by apoptosis, which Basu said was not known at the time.

The lab published the paper and then began working on other chemicals with the ability to induce apoptosis, Basu said.

“It caught the attention of the whole world that cancer cells could be induced for apoptosis, which then I said, I can bank on that … that I want to kill cancer cells by apoptosis induction,” he said.

In addition to his cancer research at the University, Basu said he is currently in the process of establishing a non-profit foundation, the Cancer Drug Delivery Research Foundation.

“I conceived of this new foundation [for] cancer drug delivery, how we deliver these apoptotic chemicals,” he said. “I have four or five more patents to apply for immediately so I’m preparing myself to build a new lab, a new crew and everything.”

Basu said future patents will help finance cancer research, and he said he should receive all necessary confirmations to move forward with the project within the next six months.

“Now, I have in my possession all the equipment,” he said. “All I need [is] declaration from the IRS that this foundation is tax exempted, and then I can accept the money from different agencies.”

Until then, Basu said he plans to continue his research and attend various global conferences.

Next month, “Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology” will publish a chapter on potential anticancer drugs written by Basu.

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About Carolyn Hutyra

Carolyn Hutyra serves as an Assistant News Editor for The Observer. She is a senior from Arlington Heights, Illinois studying Biology and Anthropology.

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