Sassano selected as Amgen Fellow
Maria "Flori" Sassano, a third-year graduate student in the Division of Medicinal Chemistry and Natural Products, has been selected as the School's 2006-2007 Amgen Fellow.
Sassano's research focuses on improving the side effects of Paclitaxel, a drug commonly used in the treatment of ovarian, metastatic breast, and advanced non-small-cell lung cancers, and in treating squamous-cell carcinoma of the head and neck.
"Paclitaxel presents high response rates for the treatment of these diseases, but its toxic side effects and poor solubility are major obstacles that need to be addressed and improved," Sassano said .
"My research focuses on the identification of a high-affinity aptamer that will bind Paclitaxel specifically, maintaining it in an inert complex. This aptamer will later release this drug at a specific cancerous target tissue, therefore eliminating the systemic side effects that this drug presents."
"It is a great pleasure to be selected as the School’s second Amgen fellow. I am looking forward to accomplishing my goals, which are to identify the aptamer and to contribute to the welfare of cancer patients by improving their quality of life."
Amgen is a global biotechnology company that discovers, develops, manufactures, and markets important human therapeutics based on advances in cellular and molecular biology.