Rehydration drink aids post-radiation recovery

A group of UF Health researchers has learned more about how a set of amino acids formulated as a rehydration drink helps the small intestine repair itself after radiation therapy. Radiation treatments partially destroy the cells that replenish villi — tiny, fingerlike projections in the intestinal tract that help the body absorb water, electrolytes and nutrients — decreasing electrolyte and nutrient absorption that causes side effects such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. The researchers found that compared with a saline solution, the amino acid rehydration formulation prompted a “significant” twofold increase in the number of precursor cells that ultimately become functional intestinal cells. It also resulted in longer intestinal villi and increased the number of transporters that are essential for electrolyte and nutrient absorption within the small intestine. — Doug Bennett

UF researchers develop novel ring distortion strategy

A new strategy developed by UF Health researchers has yielded several promising compounds to fight inflammation and diseases such as colorectal cancer. The ring distortion approach generates compounds that complement existing screening libraries that house many structurally simple compounds used to discover new drug therapies. By introducing dozens of complex small molecules developed from yohimbine, a drug which contains a complex ring system, and related natural products, researchers at the UF College of Pharmacy will add to the arsenal of compounds available to drugmakers. The strategy uses the basic chemistry of the two rings found in yohimbine and other complex natural products, which enabled the rapid synthesis of 70 complex compounds by dramatically altering the complex ring system. UF researchers used chemical reactions to generate different molecular architectures, which are then screened for effectiveness in diverse disease areas. — Matt Splett

Researchers find new method for studying drug delivery

A group that includes a UF Health researcher has found a way to speed the understanding of drug-delivery systems using nanoparticles — microscopic natural or engineered objects between 1 to 100 nanometers in size that have myriad scientific uses, including biomedicine. By encapsulating unique genetic “barcodes” within different nanoparticles, the researchers can study the effects of dozens of therapeutics simultaneously within a single animal model. If the technique is adopted widely by other researchers, Eric Wang, Ph.D., a professor in the UF College of Medicine’s department of molecular genetics and microbiology, said it could speed up the pace of discovering nanoparticles with specific and specialized properties. That could help make medications more effective by assuring that they penetrate the relevant cells and tissues more efficiently and with lower toxicity, he added. — Doug Bennett

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March 2017

Puppy Love

UF veterinary emergency specialists save family’s pet from near-drowning

Shining a light

Among student’s efforts to help others is a survey to explore hazing at UF

Biting Back

UF leads collaborative attack on Zika and other vector-borne diseases

Excellence Honored

Two UF Health Shands Hospital nursing teams earn national Beacon Awards

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