In The News

CBC: University of Windsor lab uses compound inspired by flower to kill cancer cells

February 24, 2017

A University of Windsor lab has successfully used a compound inspired by a flower to target and kill cancer. A team led by chemistry professor Siyaram Pandey has discovered a lab-synthesized drug compound based on extract from the common spider lily plant to kill 20 varieties of cancer cells. "This drug is very selective and targets the mitochondria of various cancer cells to induce apoptosis, which means the cancer cells commit suicide and the normal cells continue to thrive," explained Pandey. "We are talking about a drug that could be 10 times more effective that the very toxic chemotherapy drug Taxol." Originally, it took one kilogram of spider lily buds to make one milligram of the compound, but by teaming up with other Ontario universities a non-toxic, synthetic compound called pancratistatin was created. Read full article here.

YFile: Researchers develop math models to address antibiotic resistance in healthcare facilities

February 23, 2017

Scientists at York University and a national team of collaborators have developed new mathematical models that will help researchers, doctors and policymakers address the challenging public health issue of antibiotic resistance in bacteria. The research, co-led by postdoctoral fellows Josie Hughes and Xi Huo, was published in the journal PLOS ONE. Drug-resistant bacteria, commonly called superbugs, are a really big issue in healthcare facilities because they can spread easily and cause an outbreak,” says a co-author Jianhong Wu, Canada Research Chair and University Distinguished Research Professor at the Faculty of Science at York University. “As you might imagine, it’s hard to contain these infections when treatments are ineffective. And experts worry that it’s only a matter of time before we run out of effective options to treat most infections.” The team developed math models that focus on a strategy called “antimicrobial de-escalation,” which is widely used in hospitals but poorly understood in terms of its effects. Read the full article here.  

Globe and Mail: How a ‘fart pill’ could potentially do wonders for human health

February 8, 2017

There is no dog to blame here.

There is, however, a small black box on the wall of each room in this little research laboratory toward the rear of the Laurentian University campus. Each box has special sensors that can, if necessary, sound an alarm.

“Fart detectors,” Dr. Rui Wang calls them.

He is laughing but not joking. The sensors are not there to catch squeakers but to protect lives. Dr. Wang and his associates deal with H2S, hydrogen sulfide, a gas that is stinky but harmless in small doses and deadly in large releases. It is the No. 1 occupational hazard for those who work in oil and natural gas.

“Protection, not detection,” he says, warmly tapping on the little black box.

While mass quantities of the gas can be a danger to human life in the energy industry, Dr. Wang believes the gas, moderated in extremely small quantities, can be harnessed to do wonders for people’s health.

Read the full article here.