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Vol. LXII, No. 15
July 23, 2010
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Princess of Thailand Visits NIH, Discusses Collaborations with NCI

Dr. Keith Killian of NCI briefs Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn Mahidol of Thailand and members of her delegation, including Dr. Mathuros Ruchirawat (second from r). Center for Cancer Research director Dr. Robert Wiltrout (l) and Princess Chulabhorn hear from CCR investigator Dr. Curtis Harris about the Thailand Initiative on Genomics and Expression Research for Liver Cancer, a collaborative effort between Thailand, CCR and other international institutions.

Top, l: Dr. Keith Killian of NCI briefs Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn Mahidol of Thailand and members of her delegation, including Dr. Mathuros Ruchirawat (second from r).

Top, r: Center for Cancer Research director Dr. Robert Wiltrout (l) and Princess Chulabhorn hear from CCR investigator Dr. Curtis Harris about the Thailand Initiative on Genomics and Expression Research for Liver Cancer, a collaborative effort between Thailand, CCR and other international institutions.

Below: Dr. Andrew Patterson (r), an NCI research fellow, describes several principles of mass spectrometry and the use of different mass spectrometers in the institute’s metabolics program.

Dr. Andrew Patterson (r), an NCI research fellow, describes several principles of mass spectrometry and the use of different mass spectrometers in the institute’s metabolics program.

Her Royal Highness Princess Chulabhorn Mahidol of Thailand visited NIH on June 15 and 16 to discuss recent findings in cancer research and studies investigating the potential discovery and development of natural products that could yield treatments for cancer. The meeting, sponsored by NCI’s Center for Cancer Research, was to discuss ongoing and new research collaborations between Thailand’s Chulabhorn Research Institute and NCI. Chulabhorn, a Ph.D. research scientist who has visited NIH many times in the past, is founder and president of the Chulabhorn Research Institute, whose mission is to collaborate globally and apply translational discoveries to improve the quality of life for all people of Thailand.

The first day of the meeting focused on the Thailand Initiative on Genomics and Expression Research for Liver Cancer (TIGER-LC), a collaborative effort between Thailand, CCR and other international institutions. CCR director Dr. Robert Wiltrout and Drs. Curtis Harris and Xin Wei Wang, both of whom are CCR investigators involved in TIGER-LC, and other scientists presented new findings in lung and liver cancer research, including studies investigating cancer biomarkers that could guide decisions regarding appropriate treatment choices. The day concluded with Chulabhorn touring CCR’s Genomics Center and imaging laboratories.

Day 2 involved sharing data on natural products, an area of research under way at both NCI and the Chulabhorn Research Institute.

The princess presented data on natural products research in Thailand.

Dr. David Newman of NCI’s Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis talked about NCI’s Natural Products Branch and Repository, which contains plant samples, marine animals and microbes from more than 35 countries.

Dr. James McMahon of NCI’s Molecular Targets Laboratory spoke about the institute’s efforts on screening natural products extracts for activity against cancer and HIV.

Dr. Barry O’Keefe of NCI’s Molecular Targets Laboratory, a former teaching assistant of Chulabhorn’s, talked about griffithsin, an antiviral protein that his team isolated from red algae that has been shown to be active against several viruses including HIV.

Dr. Yves Pommier of CCR’s Laboratory of Molecular Pharmacology discussed two types of natural products that have anticancer activity— campthothecins and ecteinascidins.

Her Royal Highness and CCR were both pleased with their rich exchange of information and agreed to make plans for future collaborations in the months ahead.

Newman concluded, “We can have divers in the waters of Thailand within 6 months who can collect marine life that may have potential in the discovery and development of products that could be beneficial to treating cancer and other diseases.”—

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