Connect with us

Local

Tiffin Columbian graduate part of local pharmacy student team developing cancer-fighting compound

TiffinOhio.net Staff

Published

 

on

At the University of Findlay, pharmacy students are combining knowledge from all fields of science to develop an oral compound that targets glioblastomas, the most aggressive form of cancer occurring in the brain.

Using chemistry, physiology and pharmacology, they are researching an efficient way to direct medication to the brain. If successful, this kind of medication could remove the need for risky medical procedures which require physical access to the brain tissue.

Originally a passion project of associate professor Rahul Khupse, Ph.D., he has worked with students for four years, teaching them to perform the reactions, find compounds and choose the methodology.

After a series of trials and errors, they created the compound RK15, which is very reactive, can kill cells, and create covalent bonds. “It’s amazing to participate in drug development at its roots,” said lab assistant Bernard Bahnam. “Coming up with something out of nothing which will eventually help someone is so rewarding.” Next year, Khupse and his student team will continue work on this research through animal testing.

Originally a passion project of associate professor Rahul Khupse, Ph.D., he has worked with students for four years, teaching them to perform the reactions, find compounds and choose the methodology.

After a series of trials and errors, they created the compound RK15, which is very reactive, can kill cells, and create covalent bonds.

Jacob Reyes, a fifth-year pharmacy student and 2015 Tiffin Columbian High School graduate, told WTOL that RK-15 is showing to be 100 times more selective towards going after cancer cells while ignoring healthy brain tissue.

“It’s such a great opportunity. And I think one of the great things about Findlay is that it’s one of those small schools where you can kind of get a more one on one interaction with your professors, and have an easier time getting the opportunity to get in the lab and make drug compounds like this that may someday make a difference,” Reyes told WTOL in an interview aired last week.

“It’s amazing to participate in drug development at its roots,” said lab assistant Bernard Bahnam. “Coming up with something out of nothing which will eventually help someone is so rewarding.” Next year, Khupse and his student team will continue work on this research through animal testing.

Khupse and his student workers completed their search for the perfect compound in a very methodical manner. Armed with a notebook with every compound Khupse ever made or ever thought of, they would begin by drawing the structure.

Then, they chose which molecules to use, wrote the chemical reaction on paper and determined how much of each product would be added to each vial. Next, they weighed the products and let them sit, or spur on the reaction with heat or movement.

Finally, they used the nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), mass spectrograph and chromatology machines to inspect the finished compound, discover the accurate final product, and recording the findings. Maribel Llamas, a student on the project, said, “Even when a compound did not work, we still learned something and that is the point of research.”

This research has allowed pharmacy students to gain practical experience with drug development and machinery while exploring a less well-known career path in pharmacy.

“I’m so glad that as early as my third year in the program, I was able to work with Dr. Khupse in this research,” said lab assistant Rachel O’Malley. “I was able to see how concepts I learned in my classes can be applied and learn that this is a real career I could have in pharmacy.”

Get the latest news and updates delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up For Free