News and Updates
Slow-release hydrogel shows promise for cancer treatment
Preliminary findings from an investigation funded in part by the OMS Foundation indicate that an immunotherapy drug embedded in a slow-release hydrogel appears to be highly effective at killing cancer cells.
According to its developers, STINGel combines a new class of immunotherapy drugs called stimulator of interferon gene (STING) agonists with an injectable hydrogel that releases the drug in a steady dose to activate the immune system to kill cancer cells. The biogel was developed by Simon Young, DDS, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth), and Rice University chemist and bioengineer Jeffrey Hartgerink, PhD. The OMS Foundation selected the project for a $75,000 Research Support Grant in 2017.
The new research, recently detailed in the journal Biomaterials, showed that slow-release multi-domain peptide gels (MDP) were effective in continuously delivering immunotherapy drugs, known as cyclic dinucleotides (CDNs), to tumor sites for long periods of time.
In preclinical trials, six of 10 rodents treated with STINGel showed significantly improved survival rates plus resistance to further implantation of cancer cells after 100 days, implying that their immune systems were trained to successfully identify and destroy both the existing cancer and future occurrence of that cancer. Read more about this project here.
The research also was supported by the National Institutes of Health, the Welch Foundation, the National Science Foundation and the Mexican National Council for Science and Technology.
The OMS Foundation gratefully acknowledges the recent gift of $25,000 from the estate of Dr. James Ingrassia.
An Ohio native, Dr. Ingrassia held degrees in pharmacy and dentistry from Ohio State University. He served as a Captain in the Air Force before moving to Charleston, S.C., where he completed his oral and maxillofacial surgery residency at the Medical University of South Carolina and went into practice. He retired in 2006.
Dr. Ingrassia joined the Southeastern Society of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons in 1980 and served as its president in 2005. In 2011, he was honored with the society’s Distinguished Service Award.
He is well-remembered for his dedication to his family, friends and colleagues. His membership in the OMS Foundation’s R.V. Walker Society ensured his career as an OMS concluded with an act of fidelity to the specialty he loved and served throughout his life.
Dr. Peter Aschaffenburg Leaves $100,000 to the OMS Foundation
The OMS Foundation recently received a $100,000 gift from the estate of Dr. Peter Aschaffenburg, who passed away in late 2015. Dr. Aschaffenburg became a Charter Member of the Robert V. Walker Society in 1999, and upgraded his commitment to $100,000 in 2011.
“I never felt so proud as to donate $10,000 to be a Charter Member of the R.V. Walker Society, and this was at a time when I was just an associate, with loans, etc. When Dr. Walker passed away, I bequeathed $100,000 to the OMS Foundation. The least of what I learned from Dr. Walker was oral and maxillofacial surgery. From him, I learned what it really meant to be a Doctor, and what it meant to be a Man,” said Dr. Aschaffenburg in an OMS Foundation article written about him in 2012.
Take a look at the Summer 2018 issue of Torch, our newsletter. It is full of information about our donors, programs, and the important work we are doing to support the OMS specialty. Less recent issues of our Torch can be found in our archive.