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Medicinal Chemistry Professor and COBRE Director Hanzlik Discussed Pharmaceutical Testing Models at a California University

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Professor of medicinal chemistry Robert Hanzlik was the featured speaker April 28 before the Southern California Drug Metabolism Discussion Group at National University, the second-largest private, nonprofit university in California. His groundbreaking research into identifying mechanisms of drug and chemical toxicity carries implications for advancing the creation of safer pharmaceuticals.

Hanzlik, who specializes in drug metabolism and drug design, gave the presentation at National University's Torrey Pines campus in La Jolla, CA. Hanzlik's presentation was entitled "Reactive Metabolites, Cellular Targets and Beyond." John R. Cashman, President of the Human BioMolecular Research Institute and Chairman of the Southern California Drug Metabolism Discussion Group,called Hanzlik a leading researcher in his field.

Cashman said the work Hanzlik has done has significant implications for pharmaceutical development and research. One of the challenges in drug development is in the transformation of drugs into metabolites that can lead to toxicity. Limitations in testing can preclude accurate predictions on how a drug will react in the body. Cashman said Hanzlik has developed analytical techniques to accurately identify early in the testing and development process how some drugs and chemicals can modify normal cellular proteins. This information offers insights into mechanisms of toxicity that can be of benefit to pharmaceutical companies and researchers, allowing them to save time, money and possibly even lives.

Hanzlik said his talk presented a retrospective over some of the important technical and conceptual advances in the chemistry and biology of reactive metabolites that have occurred since pioneer scientist Bernard Brodie's seminal work in the discovery and development of pharmaceuticals. Brodie is considered by many to be the father of modern biochemical toxicology.  Hanzlik detailed in his talk significant advances since Brodie's work and some of the questions that remain.