Pharmacy student Faye Tsogas, professor Daniel Majerczyk, professor Peter Hart
Pharmacy student Faye Tsogas, professor Daniel Majerczyk and professor Peter Hart

Ovarian cancer is one of the deadliest forms of cancer. Serious cases have a survival rate of roughly 50% over five years. In a highly ranked peer-reviewed journal, three Roosevelt University researchers explore how a diabetes medication could improve life expectancy for ovarian cancer patients.

Pharmacy student Faye Tsogas was the lead author of the article in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences with professors Peter Hart and Daniel Majerczyk. The publication proposes several plausible mechanisms of how the drug metformin could enhance the body’s immune response against cancer.

Tsogas, who has never conducted research before, met with the experienced researchers weekly to talk about the project and guide her work.  “Overall, my skills as a researcher improved immensely,” she said. “I am thankful that I had this opportunity, and I will use these skills for any research I do in the future.”

Both professors said that Tsogas’s passion fueled the project and its development.

“Faye was extremely self-motivated,” said Hart, an assistant professor of pharmacology. “Her efforts laid much of the groundwork that would ultimately lead to this manuscript being published.”

Learn more about the Roosevelt University pharmacy program.

New drug development can take as long as 15 years, but many patients don’t have that long to wait. Drug repurposing, where doctors use a drug that is FDA-approved for one disease to treat another, can get needed medication to patients faster.

Majerczyk, assistant professor of clinical sciences, says that one example of this is that physicians regularly prescribe amitriptyline for nerve pain and migraine prevention, even though the “approved” FDA indication is for depression.

Drug repurposing can speed up the approval process without compromising safety and efficacy. It also gives patients one more treatment option after exhausting all of their other choices.

“I’m happy I pursued this research because I learned so much about ovarian cancer,” Tsogas said. “I hope our manuscript helps other health care professionals gain more insight on this topic.”

Roosevelt students are encouraged to participate in faculty research after their first year in the Doctor of Pharmacy program. Tsogas reached out to Hart about joining his research lab. In partnership with Majerczyk, an expert in diabetes therapeutics, the three worked together on the manuscript over the summer.

“Our faculty members collectively have diverse expertise in the field of pharmacy and are readily available to students who seek advice or have questions regarding anything pharmacy related," Majerczyk commented.

While writing the paper, Hart also developed an idea that led to a funded American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy grant, with several others in the pipeline. The professor said that research experiences like Tsogas’s give students an advantage in whatever careers they pursue.

“The pharmacy program taps into every essential skill and scientific understanding required for our doctoral candidates to be exceptional pharmacists, whether that be in clinical patient care, pharmaceutical industry or academia,” said Hart.

Read the full manuscript here.

Doctor of Pharmacy Program

The Roosevelt University Doctor of Pharmacy program is an innovative, patient-centered, and dynamic learning experience. A small class size of students, dedicated faculty and staff, and the use of the latest technology helps prepare students to work successfully as practitioners, clinicians, or researchers.

The program is located in Schaumburg, Illinois, just outside of Chicago, near major research hospitals, community pharmacies and Fortune 500 pharmaceutical companies, allowing students to complete rotations in world-class pharmacies. Explore the program.

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