The Black Lab at the Markey Cancer Center

Markey Cancer Center pic
Markey Cancer Center

After earning a PharmD at the University of North Carolina and a PhD in pharmaceutical science at the University of Kentucky, Sherif Mohamed El-Refai wanted to put his pharmacy expertise to use in serving diverse patient populations. In 2014, Sherif Mohamed El-Refai joined the Markey Cancer Center as an oncology pharmacist to research improvements in treatment for lung cancer.

The Markey Cancer Center, founded in 1983 at the University of Kentucky, operates in affiliation with the College of Medicine and the College of Pharmacy. Striving to reduce the morbidity and mortality of cancer, Markey provides multidisciplinary clinical care for patients and conducts comprehensive research on ways to prevent, detect, and treat various cancers. Markey is the only cancer center in Kentucky designated by the National Institute of Cancer and one of only a few across the country.

One particular area of research is on cancer cell biology and signaling and another on drug discovery, delivery, and translational therapeutics. Along those lines, the Black Lab was established in 2004 to examine gene expression and how control of gene expression in individual patients affects the ways in which they respond to different treatments. After analyzing patient responses, researchers in the Black Lab then conduct experiments to test and improve therapies.


Cancer Research Support Funds at the Markey Cancer Center

As an oncology pharmacist at the University of Kentucky’s Markey Cancer Center, Sherif Mohamed El-Refai is focused on contributing to the research and treatment of cancer. In the interest of making cancer treatment methods more successful, medical professionals like Sherif Mohamed El-Refai donate their time and experience toward cancer research at the Markey Cancer Center. The general public can also take the initiative to support cancer research by donating to one of the following funds.

The Cathy Coop Fund: This fund is sponsored in memory of Kentucky medical professional Cathy Coop. Peritoneal and ovarian cancer patients who receive treatment at the Markey Cancer Center and demonstrate financial need are eligible to receive donations from this fund, which helps cover the cost of treatment as well as other necessities, such as medication, childcare, and transportation.

Ironcology Program: Founded by University of Kentucky radiation oncologist Dr. Jonathan Feddock, this program supports the advancement of treatment technology at the Markey Cancer Center. As Dr. Feddock participates in the Ironman Louisville Triathlon, donations are pledged for the number of triathletes he passes during the race. Since 2014, Ironcology has helped raised nearly $142,000 for cancer.

The Nick of Time Fund: Founded by 13-year-old Nick Wrobleski, this fund sponsors lung cancer prevention measures and early detection methods for Kentuckians. The fund began with Wrobleski raising money for awareness through soda-can tab collections, informative essays, and the sale of wristbands.