Monday, May 21, 2007

Nevada Biotechnology & Biosciences Meeting: Using Proteins to Kill Cancer Cells

UNLV Biochemistry Professor, Dr. Bryan Spangelo spoke at the first meeting of the Nevada Biotechnology & Biosciences Consortium (NevBio) about his research on a specific protein that could be helpful to fight certain types of cancer, such as leukemia. The protein is part of thymosin fraction 5 (TF5) which is derived from the thymus gland.

Dr. Spangelo’s research indicates that a thymic hormone immune surveillance mechanism may suppress neuroendocrine and hematopoietic tumor formation. Thus, certain thymic peptides act to suppress leukemia as well as neuroendocrine tumor cell proliferation. The active peptide is small and may enhance apoptosis, also known as programmed cell death. The isolation of the active component of TF5 that inhibits neuroendocrine and hematopoietic tumor cell proliferation will provide a potential therapeutic strategy for the treatment of these tumors.

Dr. Spangelo made his presentation on May 25th to the members of the Nevada Biotechnology and Biosciences Consortium, which is an organization dedicated to advancing life science research and promoting the biotechnology and life science-related industry in Nevada.

Dr. Jennifer Montague, Executive Director of the Consortium, said “Dr. Bryan Spangelo’s research is a perfect example of the exciting work being performed in the fields of biotechnology and science in Nevada, and which our organization will continue to highlight.”

Dr. Montague continued, “Our first meeting of NB2C had 27 attendees, including 8 Ph.D.s with representatives from the Nevada Cancer Institute, the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute, the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, the University of Southern Nevada-School of Pharmacy, Cardiovascular BioTherapuetics, Inc. and the Regenerative Medicine Organization. We also had support from the Nevada Development Authority, the University of Nevada Health Science System and the economic agencies from Henderson, Las Vegas and the State of Nevada. The enthusiasm for a group such as this is summed up well by one of the attendees who stated, “We’ve all been doing our own thing. This is a great way for all the research groups to come together..”

The Nevada Biotechnology and Biosciences Consortium’s next meeting is June 21st (Third Thursday) at 12 PM noon at McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant at 335 Howard Hughes Parkway. The speaker is Dr. Vance Gardner with the Orthopaedic Education and Research Institute of Southern California. He will discuss his research work for a Nevada-based biotech company, CardioVascular BioTherapeutics, Inc. This work involves studying the vascular status of the lumbar spine in patients with chronic low back pain. Dr. Gardner is using a 3.0 Tesla research scanner at the Irvine Center for Functional Onco Imaging to examine 50 subjects with chronic low back pain.

The Nevada Biotechnology and Biosciences Consortium is a non-profit, educational organization with the purpose of advancing life science research and the biotechnology industry in Nevada. The meetings are open to researchers, educators, students and public and private-sector health care professionals, as well as interested citizens. For more information on the meetings, please visit the website of Nevada Biotechnology and Bioscience is or call Dr. Montague at (702) 869-8830.

Sunday, May 6, 2007

Biotechnology and Bioscience Non-profit Group to Start in Las Vegas

The Nevada Biotechnology & Biosciences Consortium (NevBio) is having its inaugural luncheon on May 17th at McCormick and Schmick’s restaurant. The speaker will be Dr. Bryan Spangelo of the UNLV Chemistry Department. The title of his speech is “Certain Peptides Can Kill Cancer Cells: Characterization of Thymosin Fraction 5.” You can RSVP to Dr. Jennifer Montague at or call her at (702) 869-8830. The cost is $30 which can be paid at the door.

Dr. Jennifer Montague is the Executive Director and Co-Founder of the NevBio, along with John Laub, Steven Zak and Judith Rebholz. The purpose of the NBBC is to foster and support biotechnology and life science-related businesses in Nevada and to promote and elevate the presence of life science research in Nevada.

Dr. Montague believes that there is enough activity in Las Vegas in the fields of biotechnology, medical devices, and life sciences to start bringing scientists, researchers, doctors and companies together to network with one another, with the goal of sharing information, encouraging business development and enhancing scientific investigation. “Las Vegas has several biotechnology companies such as Cardiovascular BioTherapeutics, Inc. and Phage Biotechnology, and several research institutes such as the Nevada Cancer Institute and the Lou Ruvo Brain Institute. In addition, UNLV has started a biotechnology center, Touro University provides a medical campus in Henderson, and The University of Southern Nevada has a pharmacy school. There are also a number of medical device companies, such as Kloehn Ltd and Non-Invasive Medical Technologies, as well, non-profit groups, such as the Regenerative Medicine Organization, are located in Las Vegas. The Regenerative Medicine Organization holds their annual conference in Las Vegas, and many other scientific and medical conferences are held throughout the valley, too. Many other states have an organization that provides a voice to those in the biotechnology and bioscience fields. It’s time for Nevada to have one too,” said Dr. Montague.

Dr. Montague went on to say, “through the NevBio, we plan to create forums in which different groups can exchange ideas that will move Nevada forward in the field of biotechnology and life sciences research. We also plan to work with our local universities to enhance the knowledge transfer to the community, which will help create new companies and new partnership opportunities for existing Nevada companies. In addition, the NevBio will provide a centralized data resource for all health science-related research entities and companies in Nevada. Another one of our goals is to promote the study and understanding of science for all Nevadans, with an emphasis on elementary, middle, and high school students.” Dr. Montague would like to see anyone who shares these goals to join her at the inaugural meeting on May 17th. You can reach her at or (702) 869-8830.