Former LSU Vice
Chancellor William Brown said Louisiana could expect to see
increased economic opportunities with the opening of the newly
expanded and renovated
Embryo Biotechnology Laboratory at the school’s Reproductive Biology Center in
wn, who shepherded the early construction of the facility during his tenure,
said, “We’ve become a force in reproductive technologies here at LSU. I’m convinced
that the economic opportunities possible are only restricted by the imagination of the
ts, administration and students.”
Brown made his comments at a ribbon
cutting ceremony in May to officially open
the new Embryo Biotechnology Laboratory.
Indicative of the reproductive technology research Brown said would spur
economic growth, three promin
ent LSU research scientists updated visiting dignitaries,
public officials and media on the status of their work
Dr. William Hansel, LSU’s first recipient of the Gordon D. Cain Endowed Chair,
said his Pennington Biomedical Research Center cancer research i
s very promising.
Hansel said a compound called Phor21 Beta CG, a synthetic amino acid peptide
compound, has proven to be highly successful in killing prostate, breast, ovarian and
testicular cancer cells. In simplified terms, receptor molecules on the can
cer cells are
searching for certain hormones, called luteinizing hormones (LH), in the bloodstream.
Phor21 Beta CG is mixed and attached to these luteinizing hormones so the cancer cell
will accept the drug. The medicine kills the cancer cells by attacking
and destroying the
But unlike other cancer treatments, these drugs attack do more than just shrink
tumors. Hansel said Phor21 Beta CG also seeks out metastatic cells that have spread
throughout the body into the lymph nodes and other organs
“Scientists have developed treatments that are successful in tumor treatments, but
the race is on to find something that kills metastatic cancer cells,” Hansel said. “We think
we have it.”
Hansel said he conceived of directing a cancer
cell killing toxi
directly to the hormone receptors when his wife was suffering from ovarian cancer.
“There are a lot of cancer studies that looked good, but proved to be too toxic, or
the cancer cell adapts to the treatment from multiple drug resistance,” Hans
el said. “Our
compound does not have to be taken into the cell. It destroys the membrane. We think it
will not be subject to multiple drug resistance phenomenon.”
Hansel said the National Cancer Institute has recently put toxicology and
g of Phor21 Beta CG on the fast track, which is essential for FDA
approval. This work must be done prior to human testing.
However, Hansel and LSU administrators are preparing to raise the $2 million
expected for the human trials.
School officials also hon
ored Dr. Hansel by naming the Embryo Biotechnology
Lab’s conference room after him.
Dr. Richard Godke, LSU Boyd Professor, said his research in the cloning field is
looking at ways to efficiently and rapidly reproduce a genetic duplicate of transgenic
ts. “The goats produce a protein in their milk that can be used as a pharmaceutical
product,” he said.
A relatively small number of goats could potentially produce the world market
needs in various areas of pharmaceuticals, he said.
LSU is working with GTC
BioTherapeutics to develop Antithrombin III, a serum
purified from the goat milk. Antithrombin III is anti
coagulant drug used in coronary
Dr. Terry Tiersch’s research focuses on genetic improvements in aquaculture. He
said the application
of genetics to improve fish quality would be much more effective in
combating cheap imports than trade tariff protection laws.
For instance, catfish can be hybridized to produce an improved fish by collecting
fish eggs and using proven artificial insemina
“But the fish won’t do it by themselves,” he said. “You have to collect the eggs.”
Expensive genetic research funding is limited, but Tiersch said there are limitless
possibilities for aquaculture improvements.
“The future is in developin
g embryos,” he said.
Large amounts of fish embryos could easily be transported across the world. Fish
and oyster embryos could be made sterile thus protecting the patent holder because the
resulting fish crop would be consumed and more eggs purchased from
In closing the ceremony, Dr. Hansel told the assembled dignitaries that although
tech cloning of farm animals is beneficial, the primary focus of agricultural science
should be to help the farmer.
“I hope we do not lose sight of the f
arm,” he said.