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University Of Pittsburgh Chosen By NCI As One Of Three Pioneer Sites ForBiocombinatorial Chemistry Research

PITTSBURGH, Oct. 21 -- A University of Pittsburgh team of investigators has received a five-year, $5 million federal grant to speed drug discovery through revolutionary means--biocombinatorial chemistry. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) grant to Pittsburgh researchers is one of only three issued nationwide. Biocombinatorial chemistry is an emerging field characterized by the rapid, parallel synthesis of large "libraries" of organic compounds used for testing in biological systems.

This initiative, conceived to discover new cancer drugs, is a combined effort by researchers from the School of Medicine's department of pharmacology, the university's department of chemistry, the Graduate School of Public Health's department of environmental and occupational health and a private Pittsburgh-based company, Cellomics, Inc. Through biocombinatorial chemistry, the university investigators will create novel chemical compounds at the department of chemistry's newly established Combinatorial Chemistry Center and then test them elsewhere in the university in specific assays to learn whether they interrupt cellular activities that can lead to cancer. Pittsburgh researchers also will create a repository for newly manufactured compounds that then can be acquired and tested by outside investigators.

"The University of Pittsburgh is at the academic forefront of a creative revolution in drug manufacturing," said Ronald B. Herberman, M.D., director of the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) and associate vice chancellor for research, Health Sciences, University of Pittsburgh. "UPCI is benefiting enormously from a unique, integrated group of exceptional laboratory and clinical investigators. Together, they are developing and executing 21st-century approaches to translating basic research into the clinic.

"Everyday, scientists are discovering the molecular bases of disease and, in the process, revealing many n
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Contact: Lauren Ward
wardle@msx.upmc.edu
412-624-2607
University of Pittsburgh Medical Center
21-Oct-1998


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