Florida Cancer Network

Nova Southeastern University (NSU)

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Appu Rathinavelu, PhD

Appu Rathinavelu, PhD. is a Professor in the College of Pharmacy of Nova Southeastern University (NSU) and is also serving as Executive Director of the Rumbaugh Goodwin Institute for Cancer Research of NSU. For the past 30 years, his research efforts have been focusing on studying the expression of various oncogenes, gene defects, proteins, and growth factors in relation to cancer growth and metastasis. His team has been conducting various experiments using both in vitro and in vivo models, including 3D cultures, and xenograft animal models, to swiftly accomplish drug screening, drug testing, and cancer pathway analysis goals. In an attempt to understand the metastatic process of aggressive cancers, his team has analyzed the expression levels of proteins as well as the mRNAs that are coding for pro-cancerous and pro-angiogenic factors such as MDM2, p53, VEGF, HIF-1α, PTEN, pAKT, TIMP-1, MMP-9, HDACs, DNMTs, Bax, and Bcl2, etc. His team has been utilizing various advanced molecular biology, pharmacogenomics, molecular modeling, and bioinformatics approaches in collaboration with other institutions in the USA as well as research institutions of other countries, such as India and Germany to achieve his research goals.

Rathinavelu’s Drug discovery research work typically involves the identification of new targets for cancer treatment, validating those targets for therapeutic and diagnostic purposes, and subsequently utilizing the Molecular Modeling approach for discovering small molecule drugs. Two of Rathinavelu’s small molecules (named JFD and F16) are patented for therapeutic use, and one of them actually has five (US, Japan, Korean and European) patents. In addition to discovering new therapeutics, his team also possesses expertise in unraveling the mechanisms for new anticancer drugs and for characterizing their mechanistic cohorts. Rathinavelu is also collaborating with several Faculty members and Physicians of South Florida institutions to validate the cellular and molecular changes that are directly related to Chemotherapy-Induced Peripheral Neuropathy (CIPN). Very recently, his team has signed Collaborative Agreements with local clinics and hospitals to test some of the potential biomarkers in human blood samples. Very recently he received an exploratory grant from the National Pediatric Cancer Research Foundation (NPCRF) for testing his F16 compound for treating Neuroblastoma. Thus, all of his externally funded projects have brought innovations that were patentable. The most recent focus of Rathinavelu’s team is establishing Gene Expression Profiles (GEP) for different cancers in treated and non-treated conditions.

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