News Column

Foundation grant to UA researcher to further breast cancer device

August 19, 2014

By Katie Nix, The Akron Beacon Journal



Aug. 19--University of Akron researcher Dr. Judit Puskas has received nearly $750,000 from the National Science Foundation to further her creation of a drug that would target cancer cells when paired with a rubber polymer prosthetic breast.

"I feel extremely good, together with my local business partner, Dr. Harlan Wilk," Puskas said in a recent interview. "We worked extremely hard on the proposal."

Puskas, the Joseph M. Gingo Chair in chemical engineering at the University of Akron, explained that the drug would be absorbed into the body from the implant. That would allow for more localized treatment of the cancer and would replace traditional chemotherapy and its usual side effects, which can include the destruction of healthy cells.

The treatment, however, will not become widely used for a number of years.

"The regulatory process became exceedingly long," Puskas said. "Today the average time to get FDA approval from idea is 14 years."

The funding, a grant of $749,747, was allocated to PolyInsight LLC of Akron to support commercialization of the cancer-killing polymeric agent that Puskas and former UA graduate assistant Kwang Su Seo have developed.

This second grant from the NSF to Puskas is a two-year, Phase II grant intended for early stage research and product development. Puskas, along with PolyInsight and the University of Akron Research Foundation, formed Enzyme Catalyzed Polymers LLC, a spinoff company that licensed the relevant technology from UA.

Puskas also has raised money toward this project and many others.

"In Canada, I raised over $4 million," Puskas said. "Since I came to Akron in 2004, I am over $10 million, but this includes a lot of other projects."

Puskas is collaborating with Cleveland Clinic radiologist Gordon McLennan and the clinic's Lerner Research Institute Imaging Core Director Judith Drazba, who will image the location of the targeted drug in vitro and in vivo.

Puskas said this round of grant money will go toward salaries, materials and testing fees at the Cleveland Clinic.

Free coping course

Families who have a loved one who suffers from mental illnesses are invited to attend the Family-to-Family education course.

These 12-week courses will be held at Science Hill Community Church, 12316 Beeson St., Alliance, and at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church, 2551 55th St. NE, Plain Township. The courses will take place 6:30 to 9 p.m. Monday evenings from Sept. 8 through Nov. 24. There is no charge, but preregistration is required.

For more information or to register, call 330-455-6264.

Rumble at the Reserve

Western Reserve Hospital will host the fifth annual "Rumble at the Reserve" blood drive Wednesday and Thursday.

The 2014 Rumble features Western Reserve Hospital's departments of Surgery and Medicine squaring off to see which can bring in the most donors, with the winner receiving the coveted "Rumble at the Reserve Cup."

Donors are invited to choose which department to support during the drive.

Rumble at the Reserve has won the American Red Cross "Largest One Day Hospital Blood Drive" award for three consecutive years. Last year's drive took place Aug. 22 and raised 223 pints of blood -- shattering previous blood drive totals and beating out 57 other competing hospitals.

All donors will receive a T-shirt and be eligible to win other prizes.

To sign up for Rumble at the Reserve, go to RedCrossBlood.org and enter the sponsor code 44223.

For more information call 330-971-7408 or kromito@westernreservehospital.org.

Katie Nix can be reached at 330-996-3216 or at knix@thebeaconjournal.com. She can be followed on Twitter at www.twitter.com/KatieNix_ABJ.

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(c)2014 the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio)

Visit the Akron Beacon Journal (Akron, Ohio) at www.ohio.com

Distributed by MCT Information Services


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Source: Akron Beacon Journal (OH)


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