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Washington State University
WSU Research Treating Disease

Predicting the Progression of Cancers

Grant Trobridge

Pharmacy research paves way for genetic tests

Physicians may soon have another diagnostic tool to help treat cancer patients, thanks to a new partnership between WSU and a genetic testing company based in India. Under a recently signed licensing agreement, Datar Genetics Ltd. will use a set of genes identified by College of Pharmacy researchers to develop tests to predict prostate cancer recurrence and breast cancer survival. The partnership was facilitated by the WSU Office of Commercialization, which is looking for additional licensing partners in other countries.

The research that led to the identification of the 20 genes was conducted in the lab of Grant Trobridge, … » More …

Ion mobility spectrometry

A closeup of Herbert Hill

Investigating one of society’s most powerful workhorses

On a cool evening last April, at exactly 8:01 p.m., the International Space Station traced a bright silver arc over Pullman. Inside, a small sensor scanned the air for hazardous vapors and relayed the data to flight controllers in Houston.

Meanwhile, 200 miles below in the Syrian desert, soldiers searched through rubble carrying a handheld device that sounds an alarm in the presence of chemical warfare agents. At airport security gates and customs stations all over the world, similar devices sniff out explosives and narcotics.

The technology behind those detectors is called ion mobility spectrometry or IMS. While … » More …

Finding treatment for genetic disorders

A closeup photo of a DNA sequence representation

Experimental drug could help children with a rare inherited condition

A rare inherited disorder that afflicts children, succinic semialdehyde dehydrogenase deficiency (SSADHD) is a defect in GABA metabolism that mimics autism and epilepsy. It triggers seizures, low muscle tone, developmental delays, and a host of neurological problems. There is no treatment beyond simply managing seizures and other symptoms.

SSADHD is caused by a mutation in a single gene that leaves a critical enzyme in short supply. K. Michael Gibson, a board-certified clinical biochemical geneticist and director of the Experimental and Systems Pharmacology Unit in the College of Pharmacy, discovered the enzyme defect during … » More …

Preventing sensory loss

Study explores ways to safeguard fragile cells in the inner ear

It doesn’t take much to damage the delicate sensory cells of the inner ear—loud noises, a toxin, or even a life-saving antibiotic can damage or kill the minuscule hair cells that convert acoustic signals to electrochemical signals in the nervous system. If too many of these fragile cells die, hearing dies with them.

WSU researcher Allison Coffin, of the University’s Department of Integrative Physiology and Neuroscience, wants to make sure this doesn’t happen.

With funding from the National Institute of Health and the Action on Hearing Loss Foundation, Dr. Coffin is exploring ways … » More …