Dr. Subhash Basu, professor emeritus of chemistry and biochemistry, will embark on a speaking tour of India on Tuesday to discuss his current research on potential new anti-cancer drugs. Basu will make his second appearance at the International Cancer Research Symposium on Dec. 19 in Calcutta when he gives a lecture titled “Probable New Therapeutic Drugs for Breast and Colon Cancers.” “The invitation to this symposium is very prestigious. Sixty people from all over the world are going to Calcutta,” he said. “I will tell them what our plan is for the delivery of these new anti-cancer drugs.” Basu’s lecture tour will also include an appearance at the Indian Science Congress on Jan. 4, where he will discuss the apoptotic, or cell-killing, effects of the drugs he is working with his collaborators to develop. “Our work is important, and we get an invitation every year to speak at these sorts of things,” he said. Basu said he and his research team have discovered five to six different new anti-cancer compounds that would be useful for treating colon and breast cancer patients. “These chemicals are quite toxic to biological cells and they kill cancer cells by enhancing apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in a very micro amount,” he said. Now that these cancer-killing compounds have been discovered, Basu said the main goal of his work is to determine ways to deliver the drugs into patients at the location of the cancer without harming the healthy cells around the cancerous ones. “Cancer cells normally die of necrosis – they make holes in themselves,” he said. “When apoptosis happens, the cell gets bigger and its DNA starts degrading until the cell cannot function.” Basu said about 50,000 women die of breast cancer in the United States each year, so his research could impact thousands of lives in the future. “Chemotherapy could be improved by our procedure by giving patients micro doses of drugs so they don’t kill the normal cells,” he said. “Thus, the success of these apoptotic chemicals as anti-cancer drugs depends on their proper delivery to the cancer sites.” To facilitate and fund his research in this area, Basu founded the Cancer Drug Delivery Research Foundation (CDDRF) in 2010, of which he serves as president. The foundation received its first major source of support when the University transferred all of Basu’s recoupment to CDDRF in May, he said. “All this recoupment was brought in by me from federal grants and other sources during my time at the University,” Basu said. “This foundation is tax-exempt and will help only for my research, so any patent money we get can go into the research as well.” Basu said his status as a permanently appointed emeritus professor gave him the freedom to move his lab from campus to a currently undetermined site near campus. “The University said I would have to give half of whatever I bring in to Notre Dame if I continue to work in a lab here,” he said. “It becomes cheaper for me to run my lab outside because I can use 100 percent of my money for research.” Since joining the faculty at Notre Dame in 1970, Basu has received major grants from the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute.
The Federation of Independent Trade Unions of Guyana (FITUG) on Thursday expressed its disappointment in the Labour Department, as it noted that workers can no longer count on the entity to address it issues objectively.The Union’s distrust of the Labour Department comes one day after the Guyana Teachers’ Union (GTU) noted it plans to resume strike action, this time on a larger scale with the support of its sister Unions, after Labour Minister Keith Scott imposed an arbitrator in the wages between GTU and the Education Ministry.“From the FITUG’s point of view, the actions of the Ministry, and more particular the Minister, does very little, if anything, to repose workers confidence in the Department of Labour and more so the Administration’s concern for the plight of our country’s working-class. Indeed, it seems, the workers can no longer count on the Labour Department as an ally.”The Union added that it is a “disappointing turn of events, especially when we take into account its proud past of standing with workers to ensure that they are respected. The reversal of sorts is yet another clear demonstration of the Administration’s dim regard for the country’s working people.”According to the Union, Minister Keith Scott would have over stepped his boundary by introducing a Chairman for the arbitration panel to resolve the ongoing issue of salary increase for teachers. Moreover, FITUG deemed the minister’s action as a manifestation to undermine teachers and the GTU.FITUG argued that the move made by the minister is “dismaying and utterly reprehensible” since the very minister is responsible for upholding workers’ rights. “The Minister, from our point of view, is far removed from his boundary and has gotten himself in uncharted waters from which he has, in our view, no justification to enter. It seems clearly that he has misunderstood his role and is causing serious damage in its wake,” the union asserted.It was on that note that FITUG contended that the Government should urgently engage in damage control and seek to correct the several missteps it has made. The Administration should in fact give serious consideration as to whether it wants to continue to have Minister Scott as its front man on this issue recognising the serious damage his actions have done to the credibility of the Department of which he is the political head, the trade union added.