WNE College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences Receives $300,000 Research Grant

SPRINGFIELD — Western New England University’s (WNE) College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences was recently awarded a $300,000 research grant from Quercis Pharma. The grant, focusing on the role of Isoquercetin and/or Zafirlukast in the inhibition and possible treatment of cancer and other diseases, is a four-year grant that will allow further development of the university’s patented work on Zafirlukast in combination with Quercis’s patented Isoquercetin blend.

Isoquercetin belongs to a family of compounds known as flavonoids. Flavonoids, found in many fruits, vegetables, and wine, are rich in antioxidants and have been shown to provide multiple health benefits. This study will further explore the use of Isoquercetin and its potential synergism with Zafirlukast as a potential treatment for cancer and thrombotic diseases, which are significantly more common in cancer patients. The combination of these two agents may help prevent this significant issue, as Zafirlukast has the ability to inhibit thrombosis without altering bleeding times.

The grant will fund a PhD studentship in the laboratory of Dr. Daniel Kennedy, Department of Pharmaceutical and Administrative Sciences chair and professor of Pharmacology. Kennedy’s laboratory explores a new class of drugs that can potentially treat diseases such as cancer, heart attacks, strokes, and pulmonary emboli. This work will expand on his current NIH-funded study exploring Zafirlukast for this purpose, which is undergoing a phase-2 clinical trial.

“This grant will further establish WNE as the pre-eminent institution in pharmacy and pharmaceutical science education in Western Massachusetts,” Kennedy said. “WNE students have the opportunity to work with internationally renowned faculty on their innovative research projects through our professional PharmD program or graduate program in Pharmaceutical Sciences or Pharmacogenomics.

The College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences educates future-focused leaders in the health and wellness fields through innovative doctoral, master’s, and dual-degree programs. Collaborative faculty research, including research with students, is a hallmark of the master’s and doctoral experience.

Quercis Pharma AG, a private, clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company, and Western New England University entered into a worldwide license agreement in May 2021 for the exclusive rights to develop and market Zafirlukast in a variety of medical indications.