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From the Chemistry Department

Jonathan Sessler Awarded CPRIT Grant

On November 19, 2014 Professor Jonathan L. Sessler of the Department of Chemistry at the University of Texas at Austin was awarded a $1.46M Bridging the Gap: Early Translational Research Award from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT) for the "Pre-IND Development of OxaliTex."


He will lead a team consisting of Drs. Alan Watts (College of Pharmacy, The University of Texas at Austin), Rick Finch (MD Anderson Center Smithville - Michale E. Keeling Center for Comparative Medicine and Research has), and Zahid Siddik (MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston - Department of Experimental Therapeutics) that will focus on developing a new lead compound called oxaliTex to the point where it is set to enter human clinical trials.


OxaliTex combines the potency of the FDA-approved drug, oxaliplatin, with the tumor localizing capabilities of texaphyrins, a class of experimental drugs originally discovered in the Sessler laboratories. It shows promise for the treatment of platinum-resistant ovarian cancer. Dr. Sessler, a two-time cancer survivor, when informed of this news commented, “New agents are desperately needed if we are to bring up the five-year survival rate for ovarian cancer from its current dismal 20% level. However, we are fully aware of the challenges associated with trying to bring a new agent into the clinic as an experimental drug. Many things can go wrong. However, we are very grateful to the CPRIT for giving us this opportunity. We are looking forward to doing our very best to succeed.”

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