Showcase Features Research Using Natural Products

By Susan Van Dusen

Michael Borelli, Ph.D., (left) discusses his research project with UAMS Graduate School Dean Robert McGehee, Ph.D.

Michael Borelli, Ph.D., (left) discusses his research project with UAMS Graduate School Dean Robert McGehee, Ph.D.

“Natural products from plants and animals are a rich source for novel drugs that can be used to treat and identify mechanisms underlying human disease. Through this event, we hope to connect UAMS researchers with diverse backgrounds and accelerate the drug discovery process,” said Lawrence Cornett, Ph.D., UAMS vice chancellor for research.

Posters at the showcase, which was held at the UAMS Winthrop P. Rockefeller Cancer Institute, used text and graphics to portray data and  conclusions from months of work by researchers.

Peter A. Crooks, Ph.D., a featured speaker at the event, was eager to promote the benefits of natural products to medical research. “My interests lie in investigating the biological properties of plants,” said Crooks, whose drug discovery research includes work with natural plant products to combat methamphetamine and tobacco addiction.

Crooks was trained in natural products chemistry and serves as professor and chairman of the UAMS Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in the College of Pharmacy.

Fellow researcher Cesar M. Compadre, Ph.D., shared information on his research that investigates the cancer-fighting properties of a plant native to southern Ecuador. “This particular plant is typically used to fight infection, but we have shown it also has the ability to kill leukemia stem cells,” said Compadre, who has conducted extensive research on bioactive compounds of natural origin. He also is a professor in the UAMS Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Another participant, Michael Borrelli, Ph.D., presented the work of his research team, which includes Crooks and graduate assistant Zheng Chen, on the natural drug parthenolide to inhibit the growth of liver tumor cells. In their research, liver tumors treated with the drug exhibited a significant decrease in volume in only nine days. Borrelli is a professor in the UAMS Department of Radiology in the College of Medicine.

Guests gather to discuss UAMS research projects at the Showcase on Medical Discoveries.

Guests gather to discuss UAMS research projects at the Showcase of Medical Discoveries.

These projects and others represented at the event were:
A Useful Rice By-product for Radiation Protection by Kimberly J. Krager, Mary Kordsmeier, Luke Howard, Philip J. Breen, Cesar M. Compadre, Martin Hauer-Jensen, Nukhet Aykin-Burns

Goldenseal (Hydrastis canadensis L.) Extract Dose-Dependent Growth Inhibition of H. pylori Bacteria and Effects of H. pylori on Gastric Cell Free Amino Acid Concentrations by Nimasha Fernando, Aime T. Franco, Howard P. Hendrickson

Transarterial Chemoembolization with Parthenolide in a Rat Liver Tumor Model induces Tumor Regression without any detectable Liver or Systemic Toxicity by Zheng Chen, Peter A. Crooks and Michael J. Borrelli

Natural Compounds in the Prevention and Treatment of Radiation-induced Heart Disease by Marjan Boerma, John Seawright, Preeti Singh, Maohua Cao and Viji Mohan Seenivasan

Development and Commercialization of Tocol-containing Pharmaceuticals Derived from, or Inspired by, Natural Products by Philip J. Breen, Nukhet Aykin-Burns, Shraddha Thakkar and Cesar M. Compadre

Dehydroleucodine a Sesquiterpene Lactone from Gynoxysverrucosa Demonstrates Cytotoxic Activity Against Human Leukemia Cells by Paola E. Ordóñez, Krishan K. Sharma, Laura M. Bystrom, Maria A. Alas, William F. Reynolds, Raul G. Enriquez, Darcy C. Burns, Omar Malagón, Darin E. Jones, Monica L. Guzman and Cesar M. Compadre

Rapid Pharmacokinetic Screening of Lobelane and Lead Lobelane Analogs in Rats via Cassette Dosing by ZAF Albayati, M. Sunkara, A.J. Morris, L. Dwoskin, and P. A. Crooks

Metformin and Soy Bioactives Limit the Frequency of the CD133+CD44+ Epithelial Sub-population in Human Colon Cancer Cells by Maria Theresa E. Montales, Adam R. Brown, Rosalia C.M. Simmen and Frank A. Simmen, Ph.D.

• The Vitamin E Analog Gamma Tocotrienol (GT3) Suppresses Ionizing Radiation- and/or Microgravity-Induced Cytogenetic Damage: Possible Role of RAD50 by R. Pathak, A. Bachri, S. P. Ghosh, I. Koturbash, G. A. Nelson, M. Boerma and M. Hauer-Jensen

• Comparative Pharmacokinetics of S-(-)-Nornicotine and S-(-)-Nicotine after Transdermal Application by Zaineb A. F. Albayati, Buchi Nalluri, Philip J Breen and Peter A. Crooks