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From the College of Natural Sciences
Cancer Drug with Better Staying Power and Reduced Toxicity Shows Preclinical Promise

Cancer Drug with Better Staying Power and Reduced Toxicity Shows Preclinical Promise

The drug candidate, called OxaliTEX, is made of two parts: a star-shaped molecule (blue) called texaphyrin that acts like a kind of delivery truck and a modified version of a platinum drug (red) that acts like a toxic package for cancer cells. Illustration credit: iQ Group Global.

​A drug candidate has been found in preclinical trials to stop tumor growth entirely, deliver more cancer-busting power than many commonly used chemotherapy drugs and do so with fewer toxic side effects and more ability to overcome resistance.

Film Tells Incredible Story of Alum Jim Allison

Film Tells Incredible Story of Alum Jim Allison


How does a poor kid from tiny Alice, Texas grow up, go to a top research university, patiently pursue a new treatment for cancer that all the experts call crazy, and end up leading a revolution in cancer therapeutics that has already saved countless lives? Oh, and somehow manage to play harmonica with Willie Nelson and win a Nobel Prize too?

Scientists Identify Genes that Help Protect Plant Genomes

Scientists Identify Genes that Help Protect Plant Genomes

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and elsewhere have identified genes in plants that help maintain protective caps on the ends of their DNA. Because the genes have analogs in the human genome, the findings may hold important implications for our understanding of age-related disorders and cancers in humans.

An Experimental Anti-Cancer Drug Has an Unexpected Method of Attacking Cancer

An Experimental Anti-Cancer Drug Has an Unexpected Method of Attacking Cancer

Researchers were surprised to find that BET inhibitors have a second mechanism of attacking cancer cells, namely damaging the cell's DNA. Credit: iStock.

A widely used class of chemotherapy drugs, called topoisomerase inhibitors, come with some serious downsides: bone marrow damage, reduced blood cell production, diarrhea and heart damage. And some cancers can quickly develop resistance. A new discovery about a second class of drugs might lead to combination therapies that are just as effective, but with fewer downsides.

Urbain Weyemi Looks for the Unexpected to Better Understand Cancer

Urbain Weyemi Looks for the Unexpected to Better Understand Cancer

A noted researcher at the intersection of cancer biology, neurodegeneration and epigenetics, Urbain Weyemi is joining the Department of Molecular Biosciences with the help of a recruitment grant from the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas (CPRIT). We connected with Weyemi as he makes the move from Johns Hopkins University to The University of Texas at Austin.

Visualizing Science 2019: Revealing Hidden Splendor in Research

Visualizing Science 2019: Revealing Hidden Splendor in Research

Each year the College of Natural Sciences invites its faculty, staff and students to submit the most stunning and inspiring images from their scholarly research for our Visualizing Science competition. We ask for images that not only inform and educate, but also celebrate the beauty inherent within scientific discovery.

New Test for Thyroid Cancer Could Prevent Unnecessary Surgery

New Test for Thyroid Cancer Could Prevent Unnecessary Surgery

A new preoperative test for thyroid cancer that’s faster and more accurate than the diagnostic test that doctors use today could prevent thousands of unnecessary thyroid removals each year. Credit: iStock.

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin and Baylor College of Medicine have developed a new preoperative test for thyroid cancer that is faster and about two-thirds more accurate than the diagnostic tests doctors use today. Although more validation will be necessary before it can be used clinically, the new metabolic thyroid test shows promise for preventing thousands of unnecessary thyroid removals each year, such as the partial removal UT Austin grad student Amanda Helms had due to an inconclusive test.

Texas Organization Donates Millions to UT Austin Cancer-Fighting Research

Texas Organization Donates Millions to UT Austin Cancer-Fighting Research

Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin will head into September, childhood cancer awareness month, with nearly $5 million in new cancer prevention funding from the State of Texas.

The Tool Maker: The Double Life of Everett Stone

The Tool Maker: The Double Life of Everett Stone

A story about how a blacksmith (Everett Stone) learned to forge new tools in the fight against cancer. Photo by Marsha Miller.

For Everett Stone, being a cancer researcher is not so different from being a blacksmith. "I feel like an overarching theme in my career is that I've made many, many tools. Some of them are good enough to be medicines," he says.

Scientists Coax Proteins to Form Synthetic Structures with Method that Mimics Nature

Scientists Coax Proteins to Form Synthetic Structures with Method that Mimics Nature

As a proof of concept, a team of researchers at the University of Texas at Austin built tiny structures that resemble two doughnuts stacked on top of each other by applying electrical charges to specific spots on naturally occurring proteins. Credit: University of Texas at Austin.

Scientists have long dreamed of creating synthetic structures out of the same raw material that nature uses in living systems — proteins — believing such an advance would allow for the development of transformative nanomachines, for example, molecular cages that precisely deliver chemotherapy drugs to tumors or photosynthetic systems for harvesting energy from light. Now a team of biologists from The University of Texas at Austin and the University of Michigan have invented a way to build synthetic structures from proteins, and just as in nature, the method is simple and could be used for a variety of purposes.