Elite Drug Discovery Award Recognizes Work of Gangjee

Posted on October 31, 2012

Dr. Aleem Gangjee, Distinguished Professor of Medicinal Chemistry and holder of the Van Kaam, C.S.Sp., Endowed Chair in Scholarly Excellence, has been recognized with the elite American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists (AAPS) Award in Drug Discovery and Development Interface.

Dr. Aleem Gangjee, right, receives his AAPS award.

Gangjee was presented the only international award for Research Achievement in Drug Discovery and Development Interface at the annual AAPS meeting on Oct. 14 in Chicago.

The award reflects Gangjee’s efforts to produce efficient, hard-working compounds that abate cancer by acting in ways that usually require more than one agent. “Dr. Gangjee and coworkers designed, synthesized and evaluated single agents with ‘combination chemotherapy’ attributes,” reads the Research Achievement Award. “These single agents target cancer cells at two or more different sites.”

Gangjee’s compounds “show remarkable efficacy” in animal tumor models “and are poised for possible clinical trials.”

Additionally, Gangjee’s compounds are not toxic to the patients, so do not sicken them further as chemotherapy often does now.

“Dr. Gangjee’s work has expanded the field of new and novel drugs available for chemotherapy because he looks not only for new base chemotherapeutics but has developed multi-acting drugs,” said Dr. Alan Seadler, associate provost for research. “These can provide better therapy and overcome resistance that is seen with current drugs. Dr. Gangjee’s years of exceptional research, which contributed to his recognition by AAPS, has created a new frontier for cancer treatment.”

Gangjee has been a powerhouse of production in his 20-some years of research at Duquesne, receiving about 30 patents and developing many compounds.

“The impact of Dr. Gangjee’s research in drug discovery is unprecedented in the School of Pharmacy,” said Dr. J. Douglas Bricker, dean of pharmacy. “It is exceptional that a member of the Duquesne University faculty be recognized in such a significant way by the American Association of Pharmaceutical Scientists.”

Previous winners of the AAPS Drug Discovery Award reads like a Who’s Who of medicinal pharmacy: Drs. Nicolas S. Bodor, Philip S. Portoghese, Daniel H. Rich, Ronald T. Borchardt, Ralph F. Hirschmann, Kenner C. Rice, Peter W. Schiller, Alexandros Makriyannis, Rao S. Rapaka, F. Ivy Carroll, Lemont B. Kier and Peter A. Crooks.

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