Dr. Lapinsky Receives Award To Fund Cancer Research

A School of Pharmacy faculty member has received an award from the Charles Henry Leach II Fund for Duquesne University. Dr. David Lapinsky, Associate Professor of Medicinal Chemistry in the Division of Pharmaceutical Sciences, was awarded $10,000 to fund his project, "Tackling Cancer with Fully-Functionalized Small-Molecule Probes (FFSMPs)."

Lapinsky said that historically, phenotypic screening has been the basis for the discovery of first-in-class drugs with novel mechanisms of action. In particular, phenotypic screening is a type of screening used in drug discovery and biological research to identify substances can that alter the phenotype of a cell or an organism in a desired manner. For example, drug candidates can be screened in cellular or animal disease models of cancer towards identifying compounds that cause a desirable change in phenotype. Such phenotypes include searching for compounds that can prevent cancer-cell proliferation, migration, and invasion. The daunting challenge then becomes determining the biological targets of active compounds from such screens - a process known as target deconvolution - which traditionally is very labor-intensive and time-consuming, typically lasting on the order of years. However, Lapinsky's FFSMPs allow accelerated and streamlined target identification upon coupling with phenotypic screening, which is expected to greatly reduce experimental effort and timelines for drug discovery and drug development in the area of cancer treatment.

"We are extremely grateful for these research funds, namely because they will be used to try and shift academic and industrial pharmaceutical cancer research efforts in completely new directions yet to be realized," Lapinsky said.

Duquesne University

Founded in 1878, Duquesne is consistently ranked among the nation's top Catholic universities for its award-winning faculty and horizon-expanding education. A campus of nearly 8,500 graduate and undergraduate students, Duquesne prepares students by having them work alongside faculty to discover and reach their goals. The University’s academic programs, community service, and commitment to equity and opportunity in the Pittsburgh region have earned national acclaim.

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