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UNC Study Reveals Precision Oncology Insights for Colorectal Cancer

March 25, 2019

Next-generation sequencing of tumor DNA from patients with colorectal cancer revealed genetic alterations that were linked to different survival and treatment outcomes in an analysis led by a researcher at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. The findings, published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, could help define strategies to more effectively treat colorectal cancer, the second leading cause of cancer death in the United States. “This is an example of precision oncology, where using genetics, we are able to stratify tumor types that we once believed were homogeneous, and to identify new patient subgroups that might benefit from tailored therapies,” … Read more

Olivia Dong Receives Brewington Award

February 28, 2018

Olivia Dong, a doctoral student in the Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, is the recipient of the School’s Kathryne A. Brewington Graduate Student Research Award for 2017. The School presents the award annually to the most outstanding doctoral student in pharmaceutical sciences in honor of Brewington’s commitment to public service and higher education. Under the guidance of her research adviser, Tim Wiltshire, Ph.D., Dong has been instrumental in the development of a new pharmacogenetic test, DNA2RxTM. She is investigating the health benefits of implementing this test for patients with coronary artery disease. … Read more

Research Tech Paints with Purpose to Brighten NC Children’s Hospital

December 16, 2016

Rachel Howard, a research technician at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, is blanketing the North Carolina Children’s Hospital with holiday spirit one window at a time. Howard is painting wintry scenes for children at NC Children’s Hospital in Chapel Hill. She calls her project Paint with Purpose and plans to decorate 72 windows in the hospital, which include all the individual children’s rooms on the fifth, sixth and seventh floors along with the pediatric playroom. “It’s been very interactive,” Howard said. “I have enjoyed taking requests from the kids, and sometimes they, too, like to grab a brush and … Read more

Simple Genetic Test Promises Better Outcomes in Heart Stent Patients

November 15, 2016

Researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have found that a quick, precise genetic test can significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular events by helping to identify a more effective medication for some heart patients who receive a stent. The test identifies a genetic deficiency that affects the body’s ability to activate clopidogrel, a common anti-clotting drug given after a coronary artery stent is inserted. During a recent multi-institutional study from NIH’s Implementing Genomics in Practice Network, researchers at UNC, University of Florida Health and other sites throughout the country analyzed medical outcomes in 1,815 patients who … Read more

Associate Professor Federico Innocenti Granted Tenure

January 20, 2015

Federico Innocenti, MD, PHD, an associate professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, has been granted tenure. He is associate director of the School’s Center for Pharmacogenomics and Individualized Therapy. Genes and Cancer Innocenti’s NIH-funded research program focuses on the search for genetic variations in patients that determine the efficacy and toxicity of cancer therapy. One of Innocenti’s notable research achievements is the discovery of the genetic basis for the neutropenia — or severe shortage of certain white blood cells — experienced by some patients being treated with the cancer … Read more

Innocenti Receives R21 Grant to Personalize Angiogenesis Inhibitors to Individual Cancer Patients

August 20, 2014

Federico Innocenti receives a $275,000 NCI grant to study the role a cancer patient’s genetic makeup plays in the effectiveness of angiogenesis inhibitors. Angiogenesis inhibitors stop or slow the spread of tumors by choking off the blood supply that feeds them. Angiogenesis inhibitors are a class of drugs commonly used in cancer therapy. However, there isn’t a way to identify patients who will benefit the most from treatment with these drugs. A new $275,000 grant could help Associate Professor Federico Innocenti, MD, PhD, and his team identify such patients based on their genetic profile. Angiogenesis is the formation of new … Read more

New Leadership, Emphasis, and Name for UNC Pharmacogenomics Center

November 12, 2013

IPIT drops “institute” in favor of “center” to become CPIT Tim Wiltshire is the new director. Federico Innocenti is the associate director. CPIT pursues genetic research aimed at getting patients the best results from medicines. Tim Wiltshire, PhD, has been named director of the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s Center for Pharmacogenomics and Individualized Therapy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Federico Innocenti, MD, PhD, will serve as associate director. Wiltshire succeeds Howard McLeod, PharmD, who is now medical director at the DeBartolo Family Personalized Medicine Institute at the University of South Florida Moffitt Cancer Center. Wiltshire … Read more

Impact Award: Dan Hertz Predicts Paclitaxel-Induced Neuropathy

May 9, 2013

Paclitaxel is a drug commonly used to treat breast, ovarian and lung cancer that can cause a progressive loss of dexterity and balance, known as peripheral neuropathy, in some patients. Currently there are no proven methods for predicting, preventing, or treating this common side effect. Discovery of a predictive biomarker could enable clinicians to identify patients at high risk of neuropathy prior to initiation of treatment. Working with a cohort of patients derived from the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Carolina Breast Cancer Study database, graduate student Dan Hertz, PharmD, PhD, analyzed genetic and demographic data to establish that paclitaxel-treated … Read more

Grant Funds Dressler’s Study of Disparity Between Participation of Blacks and Whites in PGx Research

June 27, 2012

Lynn Dressler, DrPH, has received a grant of approximately $15,000 to examine the attitudes and experiences of different ethnic groups towards the genomic-research component of cancer clinical trials. In a previous NCI sponsored study involving more than 8,000 cancer patients, African American patients were significantly less likely to participate in the pharmacogenomic portion of a cancer clinical trial compared to Caucasians. The African American patients were already participating in the cancer clinical research trial but did not participate in the component that required blood to be contributed in order to study inherited responses to cancer treatment. “The new funding will … Read more

McLeod Honored with Coriell Scientific Award

May 21, 2012

Howard McLeod, PharmD, is a recipient of a 2012 Coriell Personalized Medicine Research Award from the Coriell Institute for Medical Research. McLeod is a Fred Eshelman Distinguished Professor and director of the Institute for Pharmacogenomics and Individualized Therapy at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy. McLeod will be honored with Coriell’s Scientific Award at a reception on May 23 at the Union League of Philadelphia. The institute also presents a humanitarian award and an ambassador award. As an internationally recognized expert in the field of pharmacogenomics, McLeod has helped identify genetic variations that predispose patients to risk of severe side … Read more