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July 22, 2010

International journal publishes cancer work of ULM College of Pharmacy

An international journal has published research that highlights recent breakthroughs in understanding drug resistant cancers and features the work of the University of Louisiana at Monroe’s College of Pharmacy.

ULM Assistant Professor Yong-Yu Liu, M.D., Ph.D., in collaboration with LSU-Shreveport, the John Wayne Cancer Institute in Santa Monica, Calif., and Tulane University in New Orleans, published the research in the June issue of Molecular Cancer.

The journal publishes high-quality original work that brings attention to significant advances in cancer-related biomedical science. Liu’s article ranked among the top 20 most accessed stories in last 30 days of the journal.

Liu and the other researchers discovered that targeting a specific enzyme, glucosylceramide synthase (GCS), to be particularly effective in improving drug cancer treatments. A new agent known as MBO-asGCS knocks down the enzyme, along with the gene MDR1, effectively “smashing” the drug-resistant network that shields cancer cells from chemotherapy.

“Generally speaking, drug resistance is a big problem in the treatment of most cancers,” explained Liu.

MBO-asGCS is a small piece of DNA that can specifically destroy the GCS enzyme, according to Liu.

“Understanding more about why MBO-asGCS is so effective and what role it plays in affecting other genes in a cancerous cell was a breakthrough made possible by technological advances in molecular biology,” said Liu.

“The work recently published by Dr. Liu and colleagues represents a significant finding in the area of cancer treatment and has the potential to help solve a major problem in treating resistant cancers,” said COP Interim Dean Benny Blaylock. “The ULM College of Pharmacy is extremely proud of Dr. Liu's publication in this very prestigious journal.”

The article, titled "Glucosylceramide synthase upregulates MDR1 expression in the regulation of cancer drug resistance through cSrc and beta-catenin signaling," may be accessed online at:

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