Jones’ cancer research receives national attention

News of the research of Dr. Darin Jones, assistant professor in the UALR Department of Chemistry, has received coast-to-coast media coverage following the announcement of a research grant to support his work toward developing a cure for leukemia.

The Arkansas Science & Technology Authority recently announced a $50,000 grant for Jones to aid his research centered on dehydroleucodine, a molecule found in Ecuadorian plants.

Jones believes the molecule, often used as an anti-inflammatory and treatment for skin infections, could form the basis of a treatment for leukemia.Darin Jones1

Leukemia is a deadly cancer of the body’s blood-forming tissues, including the bone marrow and the lymphatic system.

“Considering 50,000 new cases of leukemia are reported every year, half of which result in fatalities, the necessity for this kind of research becomes clear,” Jones said.

Dehydroleucodine exhibits anti-leukemia activity against eight different cell lines of the disease, according to Jones, who says the molecule has shown greater cytotoxicity towards leukemia cells than current forms of treatment being tested in in Phase II clinical trials.

The new funding for his research comes from ASTA’s Basic Research Grant Program.

Jones joined the UALR faculty in 2011, following his work as a senior scientist in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics at Washington University School of Medicine.

He has also been senior principal scientist and research scientist at Pfizer where he led drug discovery programs in various therapeutic areas.

Prior to post-doctoral work at the University of California, Riverside; Jones received his doctorate from the University of Missouri-Columbia and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Central Missouri.

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