New OHSU lab will speed drug discovery process

lytical methods, sample preparation, and data analysis for clinical trials and basic science investigations. An important role for the PKCore is to provide support for the OHSU Cancer Institute.

"In the past, we couldn't do mass spectral analysis of this kind at OHSU," Koop said. "It was very expensive and time consuming to send samples to other facilities."

David Dawson, Ph.D., OHSU professor and chairman of physiology and pharmacology, said the BSR/PKCore will augment the department's organic chemistry initiative that will be the centerpiece of a new Program in Chemical Biology set to occupy space in the Biomedical Research Building, which will be completed in fall 2005.

"The Program in Chemical Biology will stimulate the identification of small molecules that act on specific cell components to modulate or control cellular processes," Dawson said. "A critical component of such research is the ability to identify the structure of designed small molecules and measure them in body fluids. The BSR/PKCore, together with our recently established nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) core, will provide this capability."

Dawson added that the ability to identify small molecules and determine how they are distributed in the body and eventually excreted "is critical to the development of new drugs."

That ability could make OHSU more competitive in the drug development arena. The lab will support both basic and clinical research, and it will, for the first time, give OHSU scientists the ability to move a drug from the research laboratory to testing in patients "without leaving the hill. The core is a critical link between the bench and the bedside," Dawson said.

"What this facility has the capability of doing is measuring small molecules," Koop said. "Small molecule analysis is an important investment to have on the hill. We've already had more than 50 investigators query about our ser

Contact: Jonathan Modie
Oregon Health & Science University

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