El Sayed of the pharmacy has awarded funding to research a new treatment for prostate cancer recurrence

El Sayed of the pharmacy has awarded funding to research a new treatment for prostate cancer recurrence

Published March 9, 2022

Dr. Khalid El Sayed, a professor at the University of Louisiana’s Monroe College of Pharmacy, is studying a mushroom extract that shows potential in treating prostate cancer recurrence. The National Institutes of Health has funded El Sayed’s research for two years at more than $ 347,000.

Photographic services by Siddarth Gaulee / ULM


By Mark Henderson

Special for the University of Louisiana Monroe

Researchers at the University of Louisiana Monroe are preparing what they hope will be a new approach to fighting prostate cancer.

They ferment a mushroom in a flask, extracting a strange colored liquid. Through a series of steps, they separate the target compound into tubes and each time the liquid becomes clearer.

The goal: to obtain the purest possible form of pseurotin A, a natural product in the fungus.

Work is tedious and expensive.

A new grant awarded to ULM College of Pharmacy will help fund research into the potential use of pseurotin A to fight recurrent prostate cancer.

The National Institutes of Health has approved a grant application from Dr. Khalid El Sayed, professor of chemistry of medicinal and natural products at the College of Pharmacy’s School of Basic Pharmaceutical and Toxicological Sciences.

The two-year grant provides $ 182,419 for the first year and $ 164,794 for the second year.

Improve survival rates of recurrent prostate cancer

Among American men, prostate cancer is the most common cancer and the second leading cause of death. About one in nine men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer and one in 41 men will die.

El Sayed says standard treatment involves surgery, radiation therapy, followed by chemotherapy.

However, prostate cancer is particularly aggressive and often recurs, and researchers have limited preventative options. Patients suffering from cancer recurrence only have a 29% chance of survival.

“It is difficult to design a deterrent for recurrence because the mechanism of recurrence is not fully understood,” said El Sayed. “Numerous patients die from the chemical in chemotherapy used to treat cancer.”

NIH supports research potential

To do the research in ULM laboratories, El Sayed acquired a stock of mushrooms that produce pseurotin A.

El Sayed and his research team invented a new cancer recurrence model for treating laboratory mice with pseurotin A. The success is such that El Sayed has applied for funding to continue the research.

El Sayed said that of all the grants NIH has received in this round, the agency considers it one of the most important in terms of practical implementation and expected results.

He does not expect to see this research project applied in clinical practice for at least five years.

“We have intense research to do before we reach the application for humans,” he said.

If research continues to show promising results, follow-up grants through the NIH are possible.

“Each project is very expensive,” El Sayed said. “My job is to secure more funding to continue research on quality natural products at ULM.”

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