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February 7, 2007

Research Featured in International Publication

Further Success Could Lead to Leukemia Treatment

The work of St. Francis Chemistry Assistant Professor Filomena Califano and two students is featured in the current issue of Nature Protocols, a prominent international magazine dealing with the cutting edge of science research.

Dr. Califano with students Michael Estrella and Kazuya Toyama were trying to find a cost-efficient way to isolate more than a dozen proteins that are used in research across the world. Right now, the cost for this protein purification process is exorbitant (about $10 million on an industrial scale) and stops many scientists from performing various experiments. Dr. Califano's method costs about $75 thousand dollars.

The current experiment was conducted on E. coli bacteria, but Dr. Califano hopes to transfer her work to mammalian cells. Success at that stage means the process could be used to fight cancers like Leukemia by efficiently separating out the cancerous proteins from healthy ones. "I want to use my background in bio and chemical engineering to do something where I can really help people," said Dr. Califano.

Their research shows that Dr. Califano's process of protein purification can be used on a wide scale and for a high volume of proteins, making it attractive for researchers and giving it the potential to be scaled up.

They conducted their research at the lab of Professor David Wood in the Department of Chemical Engineering and Molecular Biology at Princeton University where Dr. Califano did her post-doctorate work as a research associate. She has already applied to patent the process.

More information on the paper, "Recombinant protein purification by self-cleaving aggregation tag," can be read on the Nature Protocols website at http://www.nature.com/nprot/journal/v1/n5/abs/nprot.2006.314.html

St. Francis College, founded in 1859 by the Franciscan Brothers of Brooklyn, is located in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Since its founding, the College has pursued its Franciscan mission to provide an affordable, high-quality education to students from New York City's five boroughs and beyond.
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