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Rumbaugh-Goodwin Institute for Cancer Research at Nova Southeastern University


Nova Southeastern University’s Rumbaugh-Goodwin Institute for Cancer Research


The strategic decision of the Board of Trustees of Royal Dames and Nova Southeastern University (NSU) with great vision in 2005 allowed Rumbaugh-Goodwin Institute for Cancer Research (RGI) to expand its horizons and become part of a strong academic research environment offered by NSU. Through this critical merger, RGI gained greater access to new ideas, talented scientists, motivated students and cutting-edge technologies. The merger enabled wider collaborations in both basic and translational research, and an increase in the total value of cancer research being conducted at RGI. This re-joining of RGI and NSU was a homecoming since RGI was originally established in 1969 on the campus of a small, relatively young institution of higher education in Davie, Florida that was called Nova at that time. Today that institution has transformed into Nova Southeastern University, which has grown to become the ninth largest not-for-profit independent university in the nation with more than 26,000 students.


RGI’s main goal is to develop newer cancer therapies that can specifically target tumors, with minimal cellular damage and toxicity to the patient. Together with its industrial, academic, and governmental partners, RGI and its researchers are investigating why cancer resists chemotherapy, how resistance can be overcome, which chemotherapeutic agents most likely will work in an individual, and what causes cancer to spread. Long relationships with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and National Institutes of Health, and the unwavering support of organizations like the Royal Dames of Cancer Research, Inc. support promising therapies.

RGI is steadily advancing research projects toward discovering additional treatments for breast, ovarian, prostate, colorectal, and lung cancers using complementary medicine.

One major innovation of the RGI is “JFD,” a small organic molecule that is anti-angiogenic, meaning it “starves” tumors and other cancer cells by preventing blood flow that supplies the tumors with oxygen and nutrients that would otherwise help them to grow and survive. This molecule is less expensive to manufacture, stable in storage, expected to be less toxic, and is more effective against solid tumors. It is specifically designed to battle breast, ovarian, prostate, lung and colorectal cancers. JFD was discovered in collaboration with the Lombardi Cancer Center of Georgetown University. It is patented in both the United States (U.S. patent 7,875,603 B2) and Japan (Japanese patent 5436544 B).

In addition to the aforementioned patents for discovering JFD, researchers from RGI hold a U.S. patent for discovering a molecule called “F16” (U.S. patent 7,939,557 B2) that is more potent and is specifically designed to combat breast cancer cells.

The Royal Dames of Cancer Research, Inc. is proud to be part of the exciting and productive partnership of NSU and RGI. Through our collective efforts, scientific projects will continue to foster ground–breaking success in keeping cancer survival on the rise.


RGI will soon have a new home inside Nova Southeastern University’s Center for Collaborative Research (CCR). The 215,000 sq.-ft.-facility, under construction by the ANF Group, Inc., is expected to be completed in 2016. Additionally, the CCR will house an IBM supercomputer, one of Florida’s largest wet labs, the NSU Technology Incubator and some of the world’s most accomplished researchers.

NSU is classified as a research university with “high research activity” by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. More than 200 research projects are currently underway at NSU, including studies on cardiovascular disease, anti-cancer therapies, chronic fatigue syndrome, autism, coral reef restoration, stem cells and wildlife DNA forensics, among other subjects.

Dr. Appu

NSU’s Rumbaugh-Goodwin Institute for Cancer Research is led by Executive DirectorAppu Rathinavelu, Ph.D.

Rathinavelu holds several patents, has published more than 40 peer-reviewed research articles, served on the editorial board of several scientific journals and committees, co-authored a text book and given more than 75 presentations at national and international conferences.

Rathinavelu received his Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Madras in India and conducted his postdoctoral training at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind. In 1992, he joined the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Southeastern University’s College of Pharmacy, which merged with Nova to become Nova Southeastern University in 1994. He also serves as associate dean for institutional planning and development at Nova Southeastern University’s College of Pharmacy.

Photo-Appu Rathinavelu, Ph.D.,executive director of NSU’s Rumbaugh-Goodwin Institute for Cancer Research and associate dean for institutional planning and development at Nova Southeastern University’s College of Pharmacy

Click here for more information on RGI.