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Research team receives patent for HIV treatment

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Posted: 
January 18, 2013

A Georgia College professor was part of a team that recently received a patent for their research.

Dr. Chavonda Mills was working towards her Ph.D in medicinal chemistry at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee whenChavonda MillsChavonda Mills she and two other researchers created therapeutic agents that could treat HIV and some forms of cancer.

“You always hope your research leads to such a discovery,” said Mills. “To get to this point is very rewarding.”

The team began their research in 2001 titled “Synthetic Flavonoids and Pharmaceutical Compositions and Therapeutic Methods of Treatment of HIV Infection and Other Pathologies.”

“We started from square one to develop a series of compounds to treat HIV, breast and prostate cancer,” said Mills.

Now more than six years later, the chemistry professor learned their findings could make a difference for people diagnosed with the illnesses.

"This is just the first step in a very long process,” said Mills. “Although the compounds show great promise, numerous tests to evaluate their toxicity are still required.  Whether or not we will reach the level of clinical trials is unknown at this point.  However, our discovery serves as a significant contribution to the ongoing research efforts to find treatments for HIV and cancer. ”

By being a part of this milestone development, Mills now has distinct knowledge to bring to her students.

“When Dr. Mills’ is in the classroom, her students know that she teaches from experience,” said Ken Procter, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “When she guides them in the laboratory, her students know that they are working with an expert in the field, a professor who is able to give them a first rate undergraduate research experience that will prepare them for a career or for graduate school.”

Mills also hopes that this discovery will spark student’s interest in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) fields.

“I want to use my experiences to encourage and inspire young African American students.  There is a disproportionately small number of women and minorities in STEM fields so mentors and role models are scarce.  By serving as a mentor, I hope to inspire young men and women of color to pursue careers in STEM fields.  As my most recent accomplishment demonstrates, the research outcomes can be overwhelmingly rewarding,” said Mills.

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ABOUT GEORGIA COLLEGE: Georgia College, the state’s designated Public Liberal Arts University, combines the educational experience expected at esteemed private liberal arts colleges with the affordability of public higher education. Its four colleges – arts and sciences, business, education and health sciences – provide 6,600 undergraduate and graduate students with an exceptional learning environment that extends beyond the classroom, with hands-on involvement with faculty research, community service, study abroad and myriad internships.

Founded in 1889, Georgia College boasts one of the most beautiful campuses in the nation with Corinthian columns fronting red brick buildings and wide open green spaces. Georgia College also offers graduate education at the historic Jefferson building in downtown Macon, at Robins Air Force Base and online.

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