Medical research going on at Florida Atlantic University (FAU) could have big impacts on health and quality of life. Here are some of the newest areas of research going on in our very own backyard.

FAU announced April 11, 2013 that it entered into a licensing agreement with Eco Neurologics, Inc., a start-up company based on FAU’s intellectual property in Jupiter, to develop novel drugs for febrile epilepsy (a febrile seizure is a convulsion in a child triggered by fever), migraine and brain injury during stroke.

Through the agreement, Dr. Ken Dawson-Scully an assistant professor in biological sciences, received a $353,000 sponsored research grant from Eco Neurologics, Inc. to support his laboratory and expand his patent portfolio in this scientific area.

“We are at a critical stage in developing therapies for these devastating diseases, and this support will initiate a strong relationship between Eco Neurologics, Inc. and FAU,” according to Dawson-Scully.

For more information, contact Ken Dawson-Scully at 561-297-0337 or ken.dawson-scully@fau.edu.

In other news, scientists at FAU’s Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute have been awarded a $345,716 grant by the National Institutes of Health to identify marine natural products for their potential use in the treatment of pancreatic cancer. Pancreatic cancer is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in the United States, with a five-year survival rate of only 6 percent.

Researchers will use the grant to discover inhibitors of the Receptor for Advanced Glycation End products (RAGE) in pancreatic cancer cells using Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute’s unique library of marine natural products. RAGE has emerged as an important regulator of inflammatory, stress and cell survival pathways, which contribute to the aggressiveness of pancreatic cancer, according to an April 10, 2013 FAU press release.

“Chronic inflammation creates a microenvironment that is conducive to cancer formation. RAGE has recently been shown to be a key factor in driving the inflammatory process in pancreatic cancer cells and discovery of inhibitors that block its action may provide new therapeutic options. We hope that inhibitors of RAGE will not only have the ability to fight pancreatic cancer but may also be used to prevent it from ever developing,” says the grant’s principal investigator Dr. Esther Guzmán.  

For more information, contact Carin Campbell Smith at 772-242-2230 or carinsmith@fau.edu, or visit www.cebmb.info/.

West Boca Medical Center Opens New Breast Center

West Boca Medical Center now offers comprehensive breast care services at its new Breast Center at West Boca Diagnostic Imaging.  The center provides one location for all aspects of breast care including prevention, early disease detection, diagnosis and treatment of breast conditions, according to an April 11, 2013 press release.

Among the center’s features:

  • An onsite team specializing in breast care, including a physician specializing in breast disease, fellowship trained radiologists and a patient navigator.
  • Access to clinical research trials
  • Clinical breast exams
  • Diagnostic procedures including mammogram, ultrasound, MRI and core needle biopsies
  • Genetics counseling and testing
  • High-risk assessments
  • Personalized follow-up programs based on individual risk factors
  • Surgical consultations 

The Breast Center at West Boca Diagnostic Imaging is led by Dr. Cheryl Moss-Mellman, along with medical oncologists, pathologists, plastic surgeons, radiation oncologists, radiologists and several surgeons. The center will offer educational and research activities and $99 screening mammograms.

For more information on the Breast Center at West Boca Diagnostic Imaging, call 561-417-7920, or visit www.westbocamedctr.com

Raising money to cure stomach cancer

Looking to have fun for a good cause? The Fourth Annual Dream Maker’s Gala for Can’t Stomach Cancer: The Foundation of Debbie’s Dream is this weekend, Saturday, April 20, 2013.

Davie, Fla.-based Can't Stomach Cancer: The Foundation of Debbie's Dream is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about stomach cancer, advancing funding for research, and providing education and support internationally to patients, families and caregivers.

Where: The Westin Diplomat, 3555 South Ocean Drive, Hollywood, Fla. 3301

When: 7 p.m. to midnight

Fun lineup: Look for exciting live and silent auction prizes, music by Chris Cruz of Y-100, beautiful decor by Noel Brown of Medallion Occasion Boutique, dinner, dancing and entertainment. Master of ceremonies is Willard Shepard from NBC 6.

To RSVP or more info: Call (954) 475-1200 or email Events@CantStomachCancer.org.

About Lisette:

Lisette Hilton, president of Words Come Alive, has had the luxury of reporting on health, fitness and other hot topics for more than 23 years. The long-time Boca Raton resident, University of Florida graduate and fitness buff writes for local, regional and national publications and websites. Find out more on www.wordscomealive.com.