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March 26, 2007

Purdue Cancer Center appoints new director

Timothy Ratliff
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Timothy Ratliff, a University of Iowa faculty member and administrator, has been appointed director of the Purdue Cancer Center.

The appointment will be effective July 1 and includes an appointment as professor of comparative pathobiology in the School of Veterinary Medicine.

"Professor Ratliff is nationally recognized for his achievements in urologic research and will continue Purdue's history of innovation in pursuit of the goal set by the National Institutes of Health to eliminate cancer as a cause of suffering and death," said Charles Rutledge, vice president for research. "He understands the importance of multidisciplinary collaboration and will build upon Purdue's strengths in engineering and science and the resources offered by Discovery Park. Professor Ratliff's leadership will support the center's accomplishments and enable future successes."

Accomplishments of the Purdue Cancer Center researchers include the development of nanosensors to detect cancer biomarkers in a drop of blood and a Trojan horse method of treating cancer by attaching anticancer drugs to the vitamin folic acid, he said.

Ratliff has been the Andersen-Hebbeln Professor of Prostate Cancer Research at the University of Iowa College of Medicine for the past 10 years and has served as research vice chair for the Department of Urology for the past six years.

 "The Purdue Cancer Center is one of the best basic-research centers in the world," Ratliff said. "It fosters a remarkable collaboration across departments and across the nation that is key to success in the fight against cancer."

Purdue has been at the forefront of progress in the discovery of new cancer drugs, diagnostic tools and approaches for treatment. Purdue also has strengths in experimental therapeutics, cell growth and differentiation, and structural biology. Advances in nanomedicine and proteomics have opened the door to new concepts in early cancer detection and treatment, Ratliff said.

Ratliff is a member of the American Urological Association and is founder of the Society for Basic Urologic Research.

His research has focused on immunotherapy studies using prostate and bladder cancer models to address questions regarding activation of antitumor responses, characterization of antitumor effector mechanisms and the regulation of antitumor immunity.

Ratliff received his bachelor's degree in biology and chemistry from the University of Texas, Arlington. He received his master's degree in biology at Texas A&M, Commerce, and his doctorate in microbiology at the University of Arkansas.

Prior to joining the faculty of University of Iowa, he was a faculty member of Washington University School of Medicine.

Richard Borch served as director of the cancer center for the past nine years and will continue to serve as head of the department of medicinal chemistry and molecular pharmacology in Purdue's College of Pharmacy, Nursing and Health Sciences.

The Purdue Cancer Center is one of just seven National Cancer Institute-designated basic-research facilities in the United States. The center attempts to help cancer patients by identifying new molecular targets and designing future agents and drugs for effectively detecting and treating cancer.

Writer: Elizabeth Gardner, (765) 494-2081,

Sources: Charles Rutledge, (765) 494-6209,

Timothy Ratliff,(319) 353-3071,

Purdue News Service: (765) 494-2096;

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