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Washington State University

Ensuring drug safety in underrepresented populations

By Judith Van Dongen

Washington State University scientists are helping to develop safer drug dosing standards for children and other populations that are underrepresented in clinical drug trials, such as pregnant women, older adults taking multiple medications, and people from certain ethnic groups.

Bhagwat Prasad, an associate professor in the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, is leading the research, which could help pharmaceutical companies and medical professionals determine the right dosing for many drugs prescribed to children that have only ever been tested in adults.

Since a child’s body handles drugs differently than an adult’s, it can be challenging to determine the optimal dose—enough … » More …

Q&A with a radiation researcher

Published October 24, 2022, on WSU Spokane Research News by Judith Van Dongen

Portrait photo of George TabatadzeRadiation is used to produce energy, power spacecraft and satellites, and diagnose and treat disease, among other uses. Exposure to radiation comes with safety risks, which are at the heart of the work done by research assistant professor George Tabatadze and his colleagues at the United States Transuranium and Uranium Registries (USTUR), a Tri-Cities-based research unit housed in the WSU College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences.

Tell us more about what USTUR does.
We study the biokinetics, dosimetry, and … » More …

Study identifies key protein that drives rheumatoid arthritis damage

By Judith Van Dongen, WSU Health Sciences Spokane Office of Research

SPOKANE, Wash. – Scientists have identified a protein known as sulfatase‑2 that plays a critical role in the damage caused by rheumatoid arthritis. A chronic disease in which the immune system attacks the body’s own joint tissues, rheumatoid arthritis affects an estimated 1.5 million Americans.

Published in the journal Cellular & Molecular Immunology, the discovery sheds new light on the molecular processes that drive inflammation seen in rheumatoid arthritis. It could also someday lead to improved treatment of the disease, which currently has no cure.

“Tumor necrosis factor‑alpha — or TNF‑alpha for short … » More …

Research Day showcases cutting-edge discoveries in science

On August 12, current and future scientists gathered to show off their work at the College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences (CPPS) Research Day. The all-day event is a celebration of the broad range of research that is ongoing in the college, and an opportunity for trainees to obtain valuable presentation experience and feedback on their research.

“This day really shows the breadth of the cutting-edge research that is happening at the college,” said Pharmaceutical Sciences Interim … » More …

Discovery could improve cancer immunotherapy

By Sara Zaske, WSU News

A type of white blood cell previously known only as a helper in the immune system appears also to be the instigator of the body’s defenses against cancerous tumors. The discovery could lead to more effective cancer immunotherapy, a promising treatment which uses the body’s own immune system, rather than radiation, to attack cancer cells.

In an animal study, Washington State University researchers found that a population of T cells called CD4-positive helper T cells helped start a chain of antitumor immunity defenses that allow killer cells to better infiltrate melanoma and breast cancer tumors. T cells belong to a … » More …

Researcher on the Rise: Q&A with Chris Szlenk

Looking for a change after completing his undergraduate degree in chemistry, Chris Szlenk left his home state of Alabama in 2017 to pursue a PhD at Washington State University’s College of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. A rotation in the lab of assistant professor Senthil Natesan got him interested in the field of computer-aided drug design. » More ...

Cannabis use could cause harmful drug interactions

Using cannabis alongside other drugs may come with a significant risk of harmful drug-drug interactions, new research by scientists at Washington State University suggests. The researchers looked at cannabinoids—a group of substances found in the cannabis plant—and their major metabolites found in cannabis users’ blood and found that they interfere with two families of enzymes that help metabolize a wide range of drugs prescribed for a variety of conditions. As a result, either the drugs’ positive effects might decrease or their negative effects might increase with too much building up in the body, causing unintended side effects such as toxicity or accidental overdose. » More ...

Acquiring research experience during pharmacy school

Fourth-year pharmacy student Emily Hitt shares her experience with research during her pharmacy education. Getting involved in research can provide a competitive edge needed to secure postgraduate opportunities after pharmacy school, which is vital if you wish to pursue a career in academia or research. Research experience, presentations, and publications are valued by residency program directors and can provide a competitive edge for opportunities after pharmacy school. » More ...

Research identifies potential role of ‘junk DNA’ sequence in aging, cancer

We don’t often think about ourselves this way, but our bodies are made up of trillions of living cells. We age as our cells age, which happens when those cells eventually stop replicating and dividing. Scientists have long known that our genes influence how our cells age and how long we live, but how that works exactly remains unclear. Findings from a new study led by researchers at Washington State University have solved a small piece of that puzzle, bringing scientists one step closer to solving the mystery of aging. » More ...