LAWRENCE — Two University of Kansas faculty members were honored for their cancer-fighting research technology that is showing considerable promise.
Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Chemistry Laird Forrest and Director of Dermatology Dr. Daniel Aires, KU Medical Center, are co-recipients of the 2016 James Baxendale Innovation Award from KU Innovation and Collaboration. The award honors those whose research has resulted in significant advances and commercial opportunities for the university.
Aires and Forrest lead HylaPharm LLC, which translates their cancer research technology to the marketplace by developing novel formulations for treatment. Their work targets potentially deadly, locally advanced cancers that affect nearly 200,000 Americans each year. HylaPharm, located at the Bioscience Technology Business Center on KU’s West District, created HylaPlat, a locally injectable hyaluronan-cisplatin chemotherapy that delivers high-dose targeted cisplatin — a platinum-containing anti-cancer drug — directly into locally advanced tumors and local lymph nodes.
In contrast to conventional chemotherapy agents that are injected into the vein and diffuse throughout the body before getting to the tumor, HylaPlat is injected into the tumor and surrounding at-risk tissues. This results in very high doses of HylaPlat that drain into local lymph nodes, where tumors generally spread first. The outcome is significantly improved efficacy and safety compared with standard-of-care intravenous cisplatin
Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Neeli Bendapudi presented the 2016 Baxendale Award at KUIC’s Celebration of Innovation: A Startup Showcase at the Bioscience & Technology Business Center on Oct. 20. The annual event is an opportunity to see KU startup companies commercializing the latest life science, medical device and cutting-edge technologies generated through KU research. This year the program also included panels on early-stage investors and KU’s commercialization ecosystem.
This is the fourth year for the award. Previous Baxendale Award recipients:
- 2015: Brian Blagg, professor, Department of Medicinal Chemistry, and Rick Dobrowsky, professor of pharmacology and toxicology
- 2014: Cory Berkland, professor, Department of Pharmaceutical Chemistry and Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering
- 2013: Lisa Stehno-Bittel, professor, Department of Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation Science.
Photo: 2016 Baxendale Innovation Award recipients Associate Professor Laird Forrest, far left, and KU Medical Center Director of Dermatology Dr. Daniel Aires, center right, receive their award from Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Neeli Bendapudi and Jim Baxendale, former director of technology transfer at the University of Kansas.