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Unraveling Leukemia

This article was originally published in the November 2004 issue of CLASnotes.

More than 33,000 people in the United States are expected to be diagnosed with leukemia this year, and once stricken with the malignant cancer of the bone marrow and blood, patients, on average, have only about five years to live. Chemistry Professor Nigel Richards and his colleagues in the College of Medicine have received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to lay the groundwork for the development of new methods of diagnosing and treating the disease.

“If you get leukemia, the treatment has really been fairly standard over the last 40 years,” Richards says. “What physicians do is give you anti-leukemia drugs and inject an enzyme into you that breaks down asparagine in the blood. By removing asparagine in the blood, the leukemia cells appear to be more sensitive to treatment with the drugs. The problem is that the enzyme injected into the blood causes an immune response—giving rise to severe side effects. In the event that the initial treatment does not fully cure the leukemia, it begins again, and is then very likely to be resistant against renewed treatment.”

Nigel Richardson

“We would like to find out what happens to the [leukemia] cell when it becomes drug resistant.”
—Nigel Richards

Richards and fellow researchers Stephen Hunger, associate professor of pediatrics, and Michael Kilberg, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, have been awarded $100,000 a year for two years to explore a hypothesis they have developed for better treating drug resistant leukemia. More specifically, the researchers will examine an enzyme called asparagine synthetase and the onset of drug resistance in leukemia cells. Using proteomics methods—a new science of coding human proteins revealed through the Human Genome Project—they hope not only to develop new methods for diagnosis but also to unravel the biological processes that cause human cells to become resistant to the drugs oncologists use to treat leukemia.

Through his prior research, Kilberg has discovered that patients become drug resistant because leukemia cells at some point start producing an enzyme called asparagine synthesize, which makes asparagine inside the cells. It is unknown why this increase in the enzyme makes leukemia cells resistant to drugs, and this is the question Richards hopes the team’s research will answer. “We would like to find out what happens to the cell when it becomes drug resistant,” he says. “How does that even work—how does increasing one enzyme cause a cell to go from drug sensitive to drug resistant? That is an amazing thing—just one cellular event can result in a situation whereby we can no longer treat the disease.”

Richards, who has taught at UF since 1991, received a PhD from Cambridge University in England in 1984. In addition to this new project, he has long-term grant funding from the NIH for his studies of enzymes that have potential clinical use in treating and preventing kidney stone formation and related diseases.

—Buffy Lockette

Grants through the Division of Sponsored Research

August 2004: Total $6,537,996

FALSETTI A B

ANTHROPOLOGY

COUNTY OF ONONDAGA, NY

$163

ONONDAGA COUNTY FORENSICS CASEWORK

GLADWIN C H MORERA M D

ANTHROPOLOGY

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$12,000

DISSERTATION RESEARCH: DOES OFF-FARM WORK ENCOURAGE OR DISCOURAGE SOIL-FERTILITY ENHANCEMENT...WESTERN KENYA

MOSELEY M E WILLIAMS P R

ANTHROPOLOGY

NATL FDTN ON ARTS & HUMANITIES NATL ENDOW FOR THE HUMANITIES

$16,770

RITUAL FETING AND RELIGIOUS CONVERSION IN AN ANCIENT NATIVE AMERICAN EMPIRE

OLIVER SMITH A R DE LA PENA A

ANTHROPOLOGY

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$11,300

THE INEQUALITY OF SOCIAL CAPITAL: A COMPARATIVE ASSESSMENT OF SOCIAL CAPITAL MEASURES IN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

GE J

ASTRONOMY

CALIFORNIA INST OF TECHNOLOGY JET PROPULSION LABORATORY

$94,406

AN INSTRUMENT FOR HIGH PRECISION MULTI-OBJECT DOPPLER SURVEYS FOR EXTRA-SOLAR PLANETS

GE J

ASTRONOMY

CALIFORNIA INST OF TECHNOLOGY JET PROPULSION LABORATORY

$1,313

REQUEST FOR AN OPTICAL BENCH TRANSFER AND SETUP OF A TESTBEDFOR EVALUATING THE SINGLE MODE FIBER BUNDLE

GE J

ASTRONOMY

CALIFORNIA INST OF TECHNOLOGY JET PROPULSION LABORATORY

$95,862

A HIGH THROUGHPUT INTERFEROMETER METHOD FOR MEASURING DOPPLER RADIAL VELOCITY

TELESCO C M

ASTRONOMY

NASA GRADUATE STUDENT RESEARCH PRGM

$24,000

HIGH RESOLUTION MID-INFRARED IMAGING OF TRANSITIONAL HERBIG STARS: GEOMETRICAL DISTRIBUTION OF CIRCUMSTELLAR

SOLTIS D E
SOLTIS P S

BOTANY

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$520,555

ATOL:COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH:RESOLVING THE TRUNK OF THE ANGIOSPERM TREE AND TWELVE OF ITS THORNIEST BRANCHES

BENNER S A BRADLEY M E

CHEMISTRY

NATL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH

$44,042

SYSTEM BIOLOGY OF THE HUMAN SULTIA GENES

BENNER S A
EYLER J R

CHEMISTRY

NATL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH NIGMS - GENERAL MEDICAL SCI

$258,000

TARGET ASSISTED COMBINATORIAL SYNTHESIS

CHRISTOU G

CHEMISTRY

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$215,220

TRANSITION METAL CLUSTERS AS SINGLE-MOLECULE MAGNETS

DURAN R S

CHEMISTRY

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$144,333

RENEWAL OF DEVELOPING AN ACTIVE AND DIVERSE UNDERGRADUATE CHEMISTRY RESEARCH PROGRAM

EYLER J R

CHEMISTRY

NATL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH NIGMS - GENERAL MEDICAL SCI

$28,500

TARGET ASSISTED COMBINATORIAL SYNTHESIS

KATRITZKY A R

CHEMISTRY

MULTIPLE COMPANIES

$1,375

SOFTWARE RESEARCH SUPPORT

KATRITZKY A R

CHEMISTRY

MULTIPLE COMPANIES

$4,375

SOFTWARE RESEARCH SUPPORT

KATRITZKY A R

CHEMISTRY

MULTIPLE COMPANIES

$272

MILES COMPOUND CONTRACT

KATRITZKY A R

CHEMISTRY

MULTIPLE COMPANIES

$654

MILES COMPOUND CONTRACT

KATRITZKY A R

CHEMISTRY

MULTIPLE COMPANIES

$1,263

MILES COMPOUND CONTRACT

KATRITZKY A R

CHEMISTRY

MULTIPLE COMPANIES

$6,545

MILES COMPOUND CONTRACT

KATRITZKY A R

CHEMISTRY

MULTIPLE COMPANIES

$722

MILES COMPOUND CONTRACT

KATRITZKY A R

CHEMISTRY

MULTIPLE COMPANIES

$4,654

MILES COMPOUND CONTRACT

KATRITZKY A R

CHEMISTRY

MULTIPLE COMPANIES

$300

MILES COMPOUND CONTRACT

KATRITZKY A R

CHEMISTRY

EXXONMOBIL CORPORATION RESEARCH & ENGINEERING COMPANY

$6,126

JOINT RESEARCH INTO CHEMICAL ASPECTS OF PETROLEUM

KATRITZKY A R

CHEMISTRY

MULTIPLE COMPANIES

$2,100

MILES COMPOUND CONTRACT

OMENETTO N

CHEMISTRY

ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV

$2,375

EDITORSHIP WITH ELSEVIER SCIENCE

RICHARDSON D E

CHEMISTRY

U S ARMY

$13,870

DEVELOPMENT OF BICARBONATE-ACTIVATED PEROXIDE AS A CHEMICAL ANDBIOLOGICAL WARFARE AGENT DECONTAMINANT

RICHARDSON D E

CHEMISTRY

U S ARMY

$8,990

DEVELOPMENT OF BICARBONATE-ACTIVATED PEROXIDE AS A CHEMICAL ANDBIOLOGICAL WARFARE AGENT DECONTAMINANT

WAGENER K B

CHEMISTRY

UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL FLORIDA

$20,000

FSGC: REGULAR POLYETHYLENE CARBOXYLATE IONOMERS

SAPIENZA C M PEARSON E J

COMM PROCESS & DISORDERS

NATL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH NIDCD - DEAFNESS & COMM DISORD

$28,662

RUTH L. KIRSCHSTEIN NATL RESEARCH SERVICE AWARD INDIVIDUAL FELLOWSHIP APPLICATION: COMBINED MODALITY TREATMENT OF ADSD

HENRETTA J C

CTR FOR GERONTOLOGICAL STUD

UNIV OF MICHIGAN

$29,827

HEALTH AND RETIREMENT STUDY

MARTIN J B

GEOLOGY

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$336,214

COLLABORATIVE RESEARCH: ARE CARBON FLUXES FROM MARINE SEDIMENTS ENHANCED BY SUBMARINE GROUND WATER DISCHARGE?

PERFIT M R

GEOLOGY

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$58,639

TECTONOMAGMATIC CYCLES AND THE FORMATION OF OCEANIC CRUST ATTHE CLEFT SEGMENT OF THE JUAN DE FUCA RIDGE

TRICKEY S B

INST FOR THEORY & COMPUTATION

U S ARMY

$3,000

SUPPLEMENTAL REQUEST TO THE 2004 SANIBEL SYMPOSIUM

GOPALAKRISHNAN J

MATHEMATICS

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$173,749

IMPROVING MIXED METHODS BY HYBRIDIZATION AND MULTIGRID TECHNIQUES

AVERY P R

PHYSICS

S E UNIVERSITY RESEARCH ASSN

$1,926

DEVELOPMENT OF A PROTOTYPE SURA-SCOOP MODELING GRID

AVERY P R MITSELMAKHER G

PHYSICS

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$2,372,003

ITR: THE GRIPHYN PROJECT: TOWARDS PETASCALE VIRTUAL-DATA GRIDS

DUFTY J W

PHYSICS

U S DEPT OF ENERGY

$64,276

TIME DEPENDENT HARTREE-FOCK THEORY: GATEWAY TO NONEQUILIBRIUM PLASMA PHYSICS

HEBARD A F TANNER D B

PHYSICS

RAYTHEON COMPANY

$49,100

SURFACE PLASMON COUPLING FOR ENHANCED TRANSMISSION IN DIFFRACTIVE OPTICS

HILL S O

PHYSICS

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$212,333

DEVELOPMENT OF A TRANSIENT SPECTROMETER FOR EDUCATION AND RESEARCH INTO QUANTUM COHERENCE IN MOLECULAR NANOMAGNETS

RINZLER A G

PHYSICS

LOCKHEED MARTIN

$26,207

METHODS OF SINGLE-WALL CARBON NANOTUBE PURIFICATION AND TRANSPARENT FILM PRODUCTION

KREPPEL A D

POLITICAL SCIENCE

U S DEPT OF EDUCATION

$0

PROPOSAL TO ESTABLISH A TITLE VI NRC/FLAS CTR FOR EUROPEAN STUDIES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

KREPPEL A D

POLITICAL SCIENCE

U S DEPT OF EDUCATION

$239,518

PROPOSAL TO ESTABLISH A TITLE VI NRC/FLAS CTR FOR EUROPEAN STUDIES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

HACKENBERG T D

PSYCHOLOGY

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$335,793

CROSS SPECIES ANALYSIS OF ADAPTIVE CHOICE

IWATA B A

PSYCHOLOGY

DEPT OF CHILDREN & FAMILIES

$186,722

FLORIDA CENTER FOR SELF-INJURY

MORADI B

PSYCHOLOGY

NATL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH NIMH - MENTAL HEALTH

$89,586

EXAMINING MINORITY STRESS & MENTAL HEALTH

SHEPPERD J A

PSYCHOLOGY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

$7,378

A PILOT TEST OF THE ADOLESCENT INVULNERABILITY HYPOTHESIS

SORKIN R D

PSYCHOLOGY

U S AIR FORCE AFOSR

$227,260

INTERGOVERNMENTAL PERSONNEL ACT (IPA) ASSIGNMENT FOR DR. ROBERT SORKIN

NARAYANAN V R

RELIGION

AM COUNCIL OF LEARNED SOCIETIE

$50,000

CHURNING THE OCEAN OF STORY: RETELLING NARRATIVES OF HINDUISM IN CAMBODIA AND INDIA

HENRETTA J C

SOCIOLOGY

NATL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH NIA - NATL INSTITUTE ON AGING

$227,860

FAMILY CULTURE AND INTERGENERATIONAL ALLOCATIONS

CASELLA G
BOOTH J G

STATISTICS

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$189,198

CLUSTER ANALYSIS, PREDICTIVE DISTRIBUTIONS, AND STOCHASTIC SEARCH ALGORITHMS

PIQUERO A R

STUDY OF LAW AND CRIMINOLOGY

U S DEPT OF JUSTICE

$28,999

OFFENDER CHARACTERISTICS, OFFENSE MIX,AND ESCALATION IN DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

CHAPMAN C A POULSEN J R

ZOOLOGY

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGCY

$12,381

SYNERGISTIC EFFECTS OF HUNTING AND LOGGING ON ANIMAL ABUNDANCE, SEED DISPERSAL, AND FOREST REGENERATION

GUILLETTE JR L J

ZOOLOGY

U F FOUNDATION

$25,000

NITRATES IN THE ENVIRONMENT

LEVEY D J
CLARK C J

ZOOLOGY

ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGCY

$12,280

EFFECT OF LOGGING ON MECHANISMS THAT LIMIT THE RECRUITMENT OF TROPICAL TREE SPECIES: IMPLICATIONS FOR THE MAINTENANCE

ST MARY C M
HALE R E

ZOOLOGY

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$10,000

DISSERATION RESEARCH: COMPONENTS OF PARENT AND OFFSPRING FITNESS AND THEIR INFLUENCE ON PARENTAL CARE EVOLUTION

 

September 2004: Total $2,125,060

BURNS A F

ANTHROPOLOGY

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$2,000

GRADUATE RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM - COST OF EDUCATION ALLOWANCE

EIKENBERRY S S

ASTRONOMY

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$110,365

GRADUATE STUDENT PARTICIPATION AND OPTICS UPGRADES FOR THE CANARIAS INFRERED CAMERA EXPERIMENT

GE J

ASTRONOMY

CALIFORNIA INST OF TECHNOLOGY JET PROPULSION LABORATORY

$127,431

DEVELOPMENT OF EXTREMELY COHERENT SINGLE MODE FIBER OPTIC ARRAYS FOR TPS VISIBLE NULLING INTERFEROMETER

DOLBIER JR W R SEGAL C

CHEMISTRY

NEW ERA TECHNOLOGIES

$99,018

DEVELOPMENT OF SYNTHESIS & LARGE SCALE PRODUCTION TECHNOLOGYFOR ULTRAHIGH ENERGY AND DENSITY FLUORO-ORGANIC COMPUNDS

KATRITZKY A R

CHEMISTRY

MULTIPLE COMPANIES

$8,338

MILES COMPOUND CONTRACT

KATRITZKY A R

CHEMISTRY

MULTIPLE COMPANIES

$493

MILES COMPOUND CONTRACT

KATRITZKY A R

CHEMISTRY

MULTIPLE COMPANIES

$285

MILES COMPOUND CONTRACT

REYNOLDS J R

CHEMISTRY

EIC LABORATORIES INC

$32,182

HIGH MOBILITY SOLID STATE DSSC MATERIALS

REYNOLDS J R

CHEMISTRY

EASTMAN CHEMICAL COMPANY

$10,000

EASTMAN CHEMICAL COMPANY FELLOWSHIP

REYNOLDS J R

CHEMISTRY

VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY

$89,253

ADVANCED CARBON NANOTECHNOLOGY CONSORTIUM: DISPLAYS AND DETECTORS

SCHANZE K S

CHEMISTRY

VANDERBILT UNIVERSITY

$87,965

ADVANCED CARBON NANOTECHNOLOGY CONSORTIUM: DISPLAYS AND DETECTORS

SCHANZE K S

CHEMISTRY

S3 INC

$5,691

LPC TESTING AT UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

SCOTT M J

CHEMISTRY

U S DEPT OF ENERGY

$177,569

ADVANCED EXTRACTION METHODS FOR ACTINIDE/LANTHANIDE SEPARATIONS

STEWART J D

CHEMISTRY

BIOCATALYTICS INC

$38,302

OPTIMIZING ESCHERICHIA COLI FOR CARBONYL REDUCTION

WINEFORDNER J D

CHEMISTRY

U S DEPT OF ENERGY CHICAGO OPERATIONS OFFICE

$22,500

ATOMIC EMISSION, ABSORPTION AND FLUORESCENCE IN THE LASER INDUCED PLASMA - SUPPLEMENTAL REQUEST

WINEFORDNER J D SMITH B W

CHEMISTRY

AERODYNE RESEARCH INC

$42,225

HAND-HELD PHYTOREMEDIATION MONITOR PHASE 1

YOST R A

CHEMISTRY

NATL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH NIEHS - ENVIRO HEALTH SCIENCES

$14,040

DICHLOROACETATE KINETICS, METABOLISM AND TOXICOLOGY

ALLADI K

MATHEMATICS

MISCELLANEOUS DONORS

$1,600

SUPPORT OF RESEARCH & EDUCATION IN APPLIED MATHEMATICS

GARVAN F G
BONA M

MATHEMATICS

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$15,000

SPECIAL YEAR IN NUMBER THEORY AND COMBINATORICS 2004-2005

GARVAN F G
CREW R M

MATHEMATICS

NATL SECURITY AGENCY

$10,000

ADDITIVE NUMBER THEORY CONFERENCE & ARITHMETIC GEOMETERY CONFERENCE

RUDYAK Y B

MATHEMATICS

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$103,255

TOPOLOGICAL METHODS IN ANALYSIS AND GEOMETRY

BUCHLER J R

PHYSICS

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$31,610

INTERNATIONAL: OBSERVATIONAL AND MODELING STUDY OF THE PULSA TING AGB STARS

CHAN H

PHYSICS

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$157,883

ACQUISTION OF A SCANNING PROBE MICROSCOPE FOR INVESTIGATING FUNDAMENTAL INTERACTIONS BETWEEN SURFACES & STUDENT TRAINING

CHENG H P
KRAUSE J L

PHYSICS

U S DEPT OF ENERGY CHICAGO OPERATIONS OFFICE

$323,877

MOLEDULAR- AND NANO-WIRES: PROPERTIES AND CONTROL

HIRSCHFELD P J

PHYSICS

U S NAVY

$1,969

THEORY OF DEFECTS IN CUPRATE SUPERCONDUCTORS

MITSELMAKHER G KORYTOV A

PHYSICS

FERMILAB

$212,491

ENDCAP MUON SYSTEM DEVELOPMENT FOR THE CMS PROJECT FY 2004

TANNER D B

PHYSICS

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$62,313

INFRARED STUDIES OF CUPRATE SUPERCONDUCTORS

KREPPEL A D

POLITICAL SCIENCE

EUROPEAN UNION

$68,739

THE EUROPEAN UNION IN THE 21ST CENTURY: A TARGETED OUTREACH PROGRAM

BRANCH M N YOON J H

PSYCHOLOGY

NATL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH NIDA - NATL INST ON DRUG ABUSE

$28,892

THE EFFECTS OF COCAINE ON EATING IN PIGEONS

MORADI B

PSYCHOLOGY

NATL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH NIMH - MENTAL HEALTH

$38,334

REU SUPPLEMENT FOR CRISTINA RISCO EXAMINING MINORITY STRESS & MENTAL HEALTH

SPECTOR A C DOTSON C D

PSYCHOLOGY

NATL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH NIDCD - DEAFNESS & COMM DISORD

$28,253

MINORITY PREDOCTORAL FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM

SPECTOR A C GROBE C L

PSYCHOLOGY

NATL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH

$28,253

TASTE WORKING MEMORY & DISCRIMINATION: A NEW METHOD

VOLLMER T R

PSYCHOLOGY

DEPT OF CHILDREN & FAMILIES

$56,528

SEGUIN BEHAVIORAL SERVICESQ

EVANS D H

ZOOLOGY

NATIONAL SCIENCE FOUNDATION

$2,000

INSTITUTIONAL ALLOWANCE: GRADUATE RESEARCH FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM ALLOWANCE

LEVEY D J

ZOOLOGY

U S DEPT OF AGRICULTURE FOREST SERVICE

$86,406

LONG-TERM MONITORING OF FLESHY FRUIT AND HARD MAST PRODUCTIO N AND SEASONAL BIRD DISTRIBUTION AT THE SAVANNAH

Photo:
Jane Dominguez

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