Cancer research conducted by Dr. Appu Rathinavelu at the NSU's Barry and Judy Silverman College of Pharmacy is focused on developing new therapeutic methods for early detection of cancer and discovering new drugs that are useful for less toxic treatment of cancers. The new drugs that have been developed and patented in his laboratory for blocking the blood vessel formation in the tumors are called anti-angiogenic agents. These agents would make the tumors to starve by blocking the blood vessel formation that could eventually lead to shrinkage of cancers.
Dr. Rathinavelu's laboratory is also attempting to identify specific genes and gene mutations that would trigger tumor angiogenesis process in breast, lung, prostate and colon cancers. Once the responsible gene(s) or gene mutation is identified, the team can develop suitable drugs to nullify those mutation related, cancer causing effects. Combining this strategy with genetic engineering approach, his team is in the process of designing recombinant proteins that can provide anti-cancer effects.
Dr. Rathinavelu's laboratory is collaborating with scientists from Florida Atlantic University (FAU) and Florida International University (FIU) and testing several plant-derived natural products such as Genestein, Resveratrol and Curcumin as complimentary agents for enhancing the therapeutic potentials of drugs during cancer treatment.