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September 17, 2010

Pharmacy professors secure $50,000 in grant funding from Malaysia

Two University of Louisiana at Monroe College of Pharmacy professors were recently awarded grant funding from the Malaysian government to study the anticancer effects of tocotrienols formulated in a nanoparticle drug delivery system.

Tocotrienols are a rare form of vitamin E found naturally in high concentrations in palm oil and appear to protect healthy cells against the effects of carcinogens and suppress tumor growth.

The Malaysian Palm Oil Council awarded the $50,000 grant to Drs. Paul W. Sylvester, Pfizer Endowed Professor of Pharmacology, and Associate Professor of Pharmaceutics Sami Nazzal.

The project is titled "Optimization and Characterization of a Novel Nanoparticle Formulation of Combined Statin and
y-Tocotrienol Chemotherapy for the Treatment of Breast Cancer."

The professors will conduct studies using a new microscopic delivery system for gamma-tocotrienol.

"This system has the potential to not only greatly enhance bioavailability and therapeutic responsiveness, but also greatly reduce the dose required for treatment," said Sylvester.

Previous studies have demonstrated that nanoparticle formulations containing the combination of gamma-tocotrienol with other chemotherapeutic agents have been shown to act synergistically to inhibit mammary tumor cell growth in cell culture models.

"These experiments should provide essential evidence demonstrating that the combination of gamma-tocotrienol with other anticancer drugs enhances the response to breast cancer treatment, while at the same time greatly reducing or eliminating the severe toxicity and other adverse side effects associated with high dose chemotherapy," said Sylvester.

"Positive results obtained from these studies will provide essential information that would be required to justify further testing in clinical trials."

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