The Purpose of the University of Kentucky’s Black Lab

University of Kentucky pic
University of Kentucky

Pharmacist Sherif Mohamed El-Refai is working toward a PhD in pharmaceutical sciences as a student in the doctoral program at the University of Kentucky. Sherif Mohamed El-Refai joined the university’s Black Lab research group to study lung cancer.

Established in 2004, the Black Lab is part of the University of Kentucky’s College of Pharmacy. Maintaining membership with the American Society of Clinical Oncologists, National Lung Cancer Partnership, and American Association for Cancer Research, among other oncology research organizations, the lab and its researchers focus on comprehension of gene expressions and its impact on cancer therapy. This is achieved by designing wet-lab experiments using patient tumors as well as analyzing bio-informatics data.

The lab has successfully produced numerous publications since its inception. In 2015, the group released a publication on how corporate communication strategies can be integrated into doctoral pharmaceutical sciences programs to help students gain communications skills unrelated to science. The previous year, works on endocrine therapy and a phase II study of fulvestrant and everolimus were published. Both concentrated on the breast cancer treatment.


UK Researchers Explore Anticancer Properties of Natural Products

UK College of Pharmacy pic
UK College of Pharmacy

Sherif Mohamed El-Refai, who already holds a doctor of pharmacy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, is now working on a PhD in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Kentucky (UK). As an experienced pharmacist, Sherif Mohamed El-Refai also serves as an oncology pharmacist at the UK Markey Cancer Center and performs lung cancer research.

In a recent press release, the UK College of Pharmacy highlighted a collaborative research project that is working to provide more information about the anticancer properties found in natural products. The collaborators published an article entitled “A Divergent Enantioselective Strategy for the Synthesis of Griseusins,” which explains a new way to create the compound griseusins. Published in Angewandte Chemie International Edition, the article reports on how the new method resolves longstanding issues related to total synthesis of griseusins.

During the study, the researchers learned that the metabolites act in a mechanistically dissimilar way, and the new synthetic approach facilitates exploration of the molecules’ structural elements. According to the assistant dean for translational research, the study discovered structural components that shed light on the anticancer properties of griseusins. The project united investigators from the UK’s Center for Pharmaceutical Research and Innovation and the UK Markey Cancer Center.

University of Kentucky Researchers Create Thermal Cancer Treatment

UK HealthCare facilities pic
UK HealthCare facilities

With a doctor of pharmacy from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Sherif Mohamed El-Refai is now working to earn a PhD in pharmaceutical sciences from the University of Kentucky. Sherif Mohamed El-Refai also conducts lung cancer research and serves as an oncology pharmacist at the University of Kentucky’s Markey Cancer Center.

The University of Kentucky recently issued a statement announcing that the Food and Drug Administration has granted clinical trial approval for an investigational medical device to treat advanced lung cancer that was developed by university researchers. Created through a project funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Exatherm Total Body Hyperthermia System (Exatherm-TBH) heats and circulates blood through the vascular system at a temperature of 107 degrees Fahrenheit during a four-hour treatment.

According to the research lead, Dr. Jeremiah Martin, cancer cells can be more easily impaired by heat than normal tissue, and the systemic hyperthermia method assails cancer cells all around the body simultaneously. For the clinical trials, the researchers are encouraging patients with late-stage lung cancer who have exhausted their conventional treatment options to consider participating. The University of Kentucky researchers are hopeful that a safe method for full-body heat delivery that targets cancer cells will lead to a better way to treat patients whose cancer has metastasize.