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ULM’s Sylvester presents at innovation conference in India

Published January 22, 2015

Dr. Paul W. Sylvester, Pfizer Endowed Professor of Pharmacology and Director of Graduate Studies and Research in the University of Louisiana at Monroe School of Pharmacy, was invited to chair a session and present a talk on his work related to the anticancer effects of tocotrienols—a rare form of vitamin E—at the Health Sciences Innovation Conference and Trade Show in Mumbai, India, January 15-17.

The conference was sponsored by the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

The goal of the conference was to draw major Indian pharma, biotech, hospital, and academic leaders to the conference to foster productive interactions with medical researchers from the United States in order to develop new collaborative and funding opportunities, to recruit international students and establish strategic global partnerships.


Sylvester’s talk was titled “Targeting c-Met mediated epithelial mesenchymal transition in the treatment of breast cancer,” which discussed how tocotrienol therapy may provide significant benefit in the treatment of highly invasive and metastatic forms of breast cancer.

According to Sylvester, traditional cancer chemotherapeutic agents typically exhibit non-selective activity and often produce low response rates and severe toxic side effects in patients. Thus, there is currently great interest in developing novel therapeutic agents that target signaling molecules involved in the growth, survival, and progression of malignant cells with high specificity.

Experimental evidence was provided demonstrating that tocotrienol treatment was effective in suppressing the growth of malignant breast cancer.

Sylvester has spent many years researching the relationship between nutrition and breast cancer growth and development, and the effects of tocotrienols.

In 2011, Sylvester was part of a research team which earned a patent for their discovery of anti-cancer prototype compounds, which are found in the waxy substance on fresh tobacco leaves, and which show potential for controlling metastic breast and prostate cancers, and in 2014, Sylvester was part of the team which earned ULM’s first-ever dual U.S. and international patent.

Sylvester received his B.S. from Western Michigan University, Ph.D. from Michigan State University, and completed his Postdoctoral Training at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, NY.

He has taught at ULM for over 16 years.