Dr. Sabine Brouxhon Receives SUNY Research Foundation TAF Award to Help Accelerate Development of a Novel Cancer Agent
The research evaluates a targeted agent to treat chemoresistant disease
Sabine Brouxhon, MD, Clinical Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine at Stony Brook University School of Medicine, has been selected to receive a 2013 SUNY Technology Accelerator Fund (TAF) award of $50,000 from the SUNY Research Foundation. The award supports innovation by SUNY faculty and students by providing funding to accelerate development and commercialization.
Dr. Brouxhon has been working in the field of epithelial biology for more than a decade and has an active research program at Stony Brook Medicine funded by the National Institutes of Health and prior funding from the Komen Foundation. She and her research team discovered a novel cancer therapy that targets multiple chemoresistant pathways. The approach could revolutionize treatment for patients with breast, lung, skin and other epithelial-derived cancers.
“The Research Foundation’s initiative to fund research that has potential to be commercialized is an important catalyst to advance groundbreaking research in healthcare and other scientific areas,” said Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr, MD. “This vision to support faculty at Stony Brook and other SUNY schools will help enhance the position of SUNY research programs.”
“Dr. Brouxhon’s research in developing this novel cancer therapy is an example of where a scientific discovery at Stony Brook has great bench-to-bedside potential,” said Kenneth Kaushansky, MD, MACP, Senior Vice President of the Health Sciences, and Dean, School of Medicine. “We are optimistic that the successful commercialization of Dr. Brouxhon’s work will impact the long-term treatment of thousands of cancer patients.”
“The most significant drawbacks from current conventional or targeted therapies is that despite increases in progression-free disease and survival, patients often develop resistance within a year of therapy or exhibit de novo resistance from the start,” said Dr. Brouxhon. “We have discovered a novel antibody cancer therapy that acts through a completely different mechanism of action compared to existing industry drugs, in that it targets multiple resistant pathways.”
Dr. Brouxhon and colleagues have successfully tested the therapy on multiple National Cancer Institute-designated epithelial-derived cancer cell lines and numerous preclinical cancer mouse models, including cancers that are resistant to the FDA-approved drug Herceptin. After proof-of-concept studies in cells and in mice, Dr. Brouxhon and her team have developed proprietary mouse monoclonal antibodies that exhibit a far superior efficacy than anything previously tested. Moreover, studies proved the agent to be toxic only to cancer cells, while not harming healthy cells or tissues. The research team published its preclinical proof-of-concept findings in Clinical Cancer Research.
Dr. Brouxhon plans to expand testing a humanized version of their own mouse monoclonal antibody therapy on multiple cancer cells lines and preclinical mouse models, with the intent of progressing towards Investigational New Drug enabling studies and eventual testing in phase I clinical trials.
The TAF award will help the Stony Brook research team to advance this next stage of development of the novel cancer agent.
“SUNY faculty, students, and staff are conducting research and developing innovations that have the potential to change the world we live in for the better, and the Technology Accelerator Fund is one way SUNY can help bring their ideas to market,” said SUNY Chancellor Nancy L. Zimpher.
“SUNY’s and New York’s innovation ecosystem begins with research,” said Dr. Tim Killeen, president of the RF and SUNY vice chancellor for research. “SUNY’s TAF program rewards and highlights the unique diversity of SUNY research and enhances our ability drive economic development by moving more SUNY technologies from the lab to the marketplace.”
Since its launch in 2011, the TAF has invested over $1 million to successfully advance the commercial readiness of 16 SUNY-developed innovations that are poised for high-impact commercialization.
SUNY faculty, staff, and student proposals were evaluated by the TAF managing director with input from external experts in various fields of science and business development. Factors considered for the awards include: availability of intellectual property protection, marketability, commercial potential, feasibility, and breadth of impact.
Stony Brook Professor Receives Award for Lifetime Achievements in Cardiovascular Biomedical Engineering
Dr. Shmuel Einav, renowned for cardiovascular system research, awarded the Landau Prize
Shmuel Einav, PhD, has received one of the most prestigious annual awards given to an Israeli scientist for his lifetime achievements in cardiovascular biomedical engineering. Dr. Einav, a Professor of Biomedical Engineering at Stony Brook University, and the Herbert J. Berman Chair for Vascular Bioengineering at Tel Aviv University, received the 2012 Mifal Hapayis Landau Prize for Scientific Research at a ceremony in Israel on January 27, 2013.
Established in Israel in 1970, the Landau Prize is named after Michael Landau, who headed Mifal Hapayis, Isreal’s national lottery devoted to funding medical, educational, artistic, and social causes. The annual award recognizes achievements and influence of Israeli scholars who have made significant advances in their fields and valuable contributions to the development of science and research. Previous winners include internationally recognized scientists such as Ada Yonat of the Weizmann Institute, and Aaron Ciechanover of the Technion, a Nobel Prize recipient in Chemistry.
Research conducted by Dr. Einav has led to monumental changes in the way we diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease,” said Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D. “This award signifies the broad scope and contributions of Dr. Einav’s work to basic science and medicine, underscores the impact of his dedication to educating students and mentoring faculty at Stony Brook, and recognizes his achievements advancing Biomedical Engineering, an ever growing field for 21stCentury medicine.”
According to the Mifal Hapayis judges, Dr. Einav received the Landau Prize because of his “innovative achievements and groundbreaking medical research, initiating and constructing the field of Biomedical Engineering in Israel and worldwide, for his contributions to the advancement of research in Cardiovascular Medicine for the benefit of mankind, the development of instructional programs in Biomedical Engineering in Israel and worldwide, teaching and instructing many generations of engineers, scientists and physicians, and extensive public advocacy.”
The organization cited that as a world authority in biomedical engineering, Dr. Einav is “credited with breakthroughs on blood flow and cardiac activity, computational approaches to assess the severity of the disease and efficacy of treatment, and the development of medical devices and implantable systems for the diagnosis and treatment of heart disease and blood vessels.”
Among the cardiovascular medical devices and systems created by Dr. Einav are heart valves, ventricular assist devices, total artificial heart, a method for opening blocked arteries, diagnosing vulnerable plaques, and the use of nanotechnologies for recovery and regeneration of blood vessels. He is also the holder of numerous patents, including an intra-aortic pumping apparatus, a method for determining the degree of occlusion and elasticity in blood vessels, and a method and apparatus for magnetic resonance imaging of flow.
Dr. Einav joined Stony Brook University in 2004 and was named Associated Dean for Research and Graduate Studies in College of Engineering and Applied Sciences (CEAS), and Director of the Medical Technologies Division at Stony Brook’s Center of Excellence for Wireless and Information Technologies (CEWIT). His research at Stony Brook encompasses collaborative work in the Biomedical Engineering within the CEAS and School of Medicine.
The focus of work in his Stony Brook Biomedical Engineering laboratory is investigation of basic physiological flow phenomena in context with cellular and tissue engineering. The research is applied to the vascular system to discover ways of improving the functioning of cells, tissues, and organs of the body. Dr. Einav and his team apply their methods to the physiological flow in the heart, arteries, veins, and microcirculation, as well as air flow in respiratory airways and urine flow in the kidney and urethra.
The goal of the lab is to simulate biological systems by way of mathematical models and computer systems to help life scientists better understand physiological functions. To facilitate biological studies, the lab develops new investigative techniques, noninvasive diagnostic methods, and advance multi-dimensional numerical modeling. Specific projects include the investigation of hemodynamics (blood flow) as a regulator of vascular biology, and the evaluation of critical conditions that lead to failure of biological organs, such as heart and coronary circulation or failure of circulatory prosthetic devices.
A native of Tel Aviv, Israel, Dr. Einav founded the Tel Aviv University Graduate Program of Biomedical Engineering in 1975 and the Department of Biomedical Engineering in 1993. He also lead the development of more than 15 start-up companies as Director of Ramot, the University Authority for Applied Research and Industrial Development, Ltd, the technology transfer organization of Tel Aviv University.
He has published more than 120 scientific papers and several book chapters. As an educator, he has mentored more than 75 Masters and Doctoral students who have entered science, academia an industry.
In recognition of his achievements and contributions to biomedicine and technology, Dr. Einav has been elected as a Fellow of the International College of Medical and Biological Engineering, the Biomedical Engineering Society, American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE), and American Society for Mechanical Engineers (ASME). He is also a member of numerous scientific organizations, including the New York Academy of Science, American Physical Society, and the International Society for Applied Cardiovascular Biology.
Research team includes Stony Brook University Geosciences Professor
Minerals found in the subsurface of Mars, a zone of more than three miles below ground, make for the strongest evidence yet that the red planet may have supported life, according to research “Groundwater activity on Mars and implications for a deep biosphere,” published in Nature Geoscience on January 20, 2013.
Up to half of all life on Earth consists of simple microorganisms hidden in rocks beneath the surface and for some time, scientists have suggested that the same may be true for Mars. Now this theory has been supported by new research, which suggests that the ingredients for life have been present in the Martian subsurface for much of the planet’s history.
When meteorites strike the surface of Mars, they act like natural probes, bringing up rocks from far beneath the surface. Recent research has shown that many of the rocks brought up from the Martian subsurface contain clays and minerals whose chemical make-up has been altered by water, an essential element to support life. Some deep craters on Mars also acted as basins where groundwater likely emerged to produce lakes.
McLaughlin Crater, described in this study, is one such basin that contains clay and carbonate minerals formed in an ancient lake on Mars. The fluids that formed these minerals could carry clues to as to whether the subsurface contained life.
“We don’t know how life on Earth formed but it is conceivable that it originated underground, protected from harsh surface conditions that existed on early Earth. Due to plate tectonics, however, the early geological record of Earth is poorly preserved so we may never know what processes led to life’s origin and early evolution,” said Dr Joseph Michalski, lead author and planetary geologist at the Natural History Museum in London. “Exploring these rocks on Mars, where the ancient geologic record is better preserved than on Earth, would be like finding a stack of pages that have been ripped out of Earth’s geological history book. Whether the Martian geologic record contains life or not, analysis of these types of rocks would certainly teach us a tremendous amount about early chemical processes in the solar system.”
Co-author Deanne Rogers, Assistant Professor in the Department of Geosciences at Stony Brook University used data from the Thermal Emission Spectrometer aboard NASA’s Mars Global Surveyor and the Thermal Emission Imaging System aboard the Mars Odyssey orbiter to detect and identify minerals that proved to be consistent with a sustained aqueous environment on the floor of the McLaughlin Crater.
“Our understanding of Mars is changing very rapidly with all of the new mission data,” said Professor Rogers. “There have been several recent observations and models that have pointed to the possibility of a vast store of groundwater in the Martian past, and perhaps present. So you might expect that deep basins such as McLaughlin, which intersect the upwelling groundwater table, would contain evidence of this water. And this study found that evidence.”
Current exploration of Mars focuses on investigating surface processes because sedimentary rocks are most likely to provide the best chance evidence for habitability. Evidence suggests, however, that the Martian surface environment has been quite inhospitable to life for billions of years. In future missions, scientists could choose to target rocks related to the surface or subsurface, or perhaps do both by targeting areas where sedimentary rocks formed from subsurface fluids.
Michalski concludes: ‘In this paper, we present a strong case for exploring the subsurface, as well as the surface. But I don’t personally think we should try to drill into the subsurface to look for ancient life. Instead, we can study rocks that are naturally brought to the surface by meteor impact and search in deep basins where fluids have come to the surface.’
Co-author Professor John Parnell, geochemist at the University of Aberdeen, commented, “This research has demonstrated how studies of Earth and Mars depend on each other. It is what we have observed of microbes living below the continents and oceans of Earth. They allow us to speculate on habitats for past life on Mars, which in turn show us how life on the early Earth could have survived. We know from Earth’s history that planets face traumatic conditions such as meteorite bombardment and ice ages, when the survival of life may depend on being well below ground. So it makes sense to search for evidence of life from that subsurface environment, in the geological records of both Earth and Mars. But it’s one thing to do that on Earth – we need to be clever in finding a way to do it on Mars.”
Additional co-authors of the study include: Javier Caudros, Researcher, Clay Mineralogy, Earth Sciences Department, Natural History Museum, London; Paul B. Niles, Planetary Scientist, NASA Johnson Space Center; and Shawn P. Wright, Postdoctoral Fellow in Geology, Auburn University.