Dr. Pemmaraju Rao's work with hormonal steroids has led to significant findings in cancer research, as well as the launch of a new pharmaceutical company focused on hormone-dependant cancers and women's health issues.
In one of Texas Biomed's longstanding research programs, scientistsdeveloped several new derivatives of a steroid that prevents the effects of the steroid hormone, progesterone. These compounds are being used to develop new treatments for breast and prostate cancer, as well as new contraceptive methods. With distinguished expertise and a large body of work in this area, the Texas Biomed Department of Organic Chemistry was spun off in 2008 as a private pharmaceutical company, Evestra, Inc., focused on the development of new and improved treatments for women's health problems and hormone-dependent cancers. For more information about the company's efforts, visit www.Evestra.com.
Cancer Model Development
Researchers at Texas Biomed have developed a South American opossum, the Monodelphis domestica, as a unique cancer model with exciting potential.
Initially, the animal was shown to be a natural model of malignant melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Research established that brief exposure of young Monodelphis opossums to UV light causes moles in 5 to 10 percent of adult animals, and 40 percent of these moles develop into melanoma. This finding provides scientific evidence supporting the concept that melanoma in adult humans may be the result of exposures to UV light as children. The animal will provide a means for testing new therapeutic methods for treating this skin cancer, as well as new strategies to prevent it.
Most recently, in 2003, Texas Biomed scientists published their success in transplanting human cancer cells and tumors in theMonodelphis, marking the first time that human cancers have been able to grow and metastasize in another animal with an active immune system. This development opens the door for a host of promising research opportunities, including the ability to investigate ways to harness a person's own immune system to kill cancer cells, as well as how the immune system and various chemotherapies work together in this same effort.