Researchers patent drug

Oregon Health & Science University and Novacea Inc., a startup biopharmaceutical company in Northern California, have patented an anticancer drug developed by OHSU researchers.

The drug, DN-101, uses a high-dosage form of vitamin D called calcitriol. It was developed by Dr. Tomasz Beer of OHSU's Cancer Institute and an assistant professor of medicine, and Dr. William Henner, a former OHSU researcher.

Beer said high dosages of vitamin D appear to help reduce the growth of cancer cells and is being studied first in patients with prostate cancer and will be tested on people with breast and pancreatic cancers.

Research is determining how to safely give high dosages of vitamin D Ñ which can be toxic Ñ to cancer patients, Beer said. Novacea will help develop, manufacture and test the drug, which has not yet been approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

Obtaining the patent for the drug is important because it 'shows OHSU has a strong technology pipeline,' said Todd Sherer, the university's director of technology and research collaborations.

'If the drug is successful, that success will get other investors and entrepreneurs to look at OHSU in the future,' he said.

OHSU has an 'equity position' in the drug's development 'and a chance to benefit from royalties,' Sherer said.


Blaze kills woman

A 46-year-old woman died early Sunday when fire destroyed her Hayden Island mobile home. It was Portland's first fire fatality this year. The cause of death has not been determined yet.

The Portland Fire Bureau said Denise Annette Turner apparently planned on boiling a pot of water but turned on the wrong burner. The exposed electric element then ignited some plastic and other nearby materials, said Neil Heesacker, fire bureau spokesman.

Firefighters arrived at the Hayden Island Mobile Home Park, 1503 N. Hayden Island Drive, at 1:46 a.m. and broke in a side door in search of people in the bedrooms. They found Turner in the kitchen. She lived with two daughters, but neither was home at the time.

In 2002, Portland saw its first fire fatality on Jan. 15 and had recorded three by March 24. Heesacker said fatalities might be down because it's been a warmer winter than last year, which means fewer fires related to heaters.

Officials estimated damage to the double-wide mobile home at $55,000. Firefighters found one smoke detector, but it had no battery, Heesacker said.


Protest suspect sought

Portland police are seeking a person who they say assaulted an officer on the Steel Bridge during Thursday's protests.

Officer Mark Butler was struck in the head during a confrontation with protesters on the bridge, according to Sgt. Brian Schmautz, spokesman for the police.

'When the crowd surged forward, someone reached over and hit him in the head with a bat or stick or something like that,' Schmautz said.

Butler received 10 stitches in his head and was back at work Friday. He was the only police officer injured during the protest, Schmautz said.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call the bureau's detective's division, 503-823-0400.


Analysts urge land sale

Timber industry analysts are urging Crown Pacific LP to unload more of its 524,000 acres of forestland or other assets to improve its financial situation, rather than focus on a merger partner.

The Portland company was delisted last week by the New York Stock Exchange after falling below the minimum capitalization of

$15 million over a 30-day period. Crown Pacific shares dropped to

20 cents on March 13, or a capitalization value of $6 million. It began trading over the counter at 14 cents a share on March 18.

Crown Pacific is negotiating with its lenders to recapitalize or sell more assets to reduce its $505 million in outstanding debt Ñ considered high for the industry.

'Their problem is, the interest expense is so high that they are not going to report earnings, but they are generating sufficient cash to support interest obligations,' said Steve Chercover, an analyst with D.A. Davidson & Co.'s Portland office.


Mejia case discussed

The city attorney's office has told the citizens committee that reviews complaints against police that it cannot review the March 30, 2001, arrest of Jose Santos Victor Mejia Poot.

Speaking at the committee's March 18 hearing, Deputy City Attorney Linly Rees said the group already had rejected an appeal of the police internal affairs investigation that cleared the arresting officers of using excessive force.

'The city attorney's office feels that the committee doesn't have the authority to go back and change the decision,' Rees said.

A majority of the committee rejected Rees' advice, however, arguing that the earlier decision was a mistake that needs to be corrected. Several members said they were wrong to reject the June 2002 appeal because the person who filed it had not witnessed the arrest.

Although the rules at the time allowed the committee to reject third-party appeals, member T.J. Browning argued that the ordinance creating the committee allows it to accept appeals from any source.

After the discussion, review committee Chairman Hector Lopez said the panel remains 'absolutely' committed to reviewing the investigation that cleared the officers.

The City Council created the Citizen Review Committee of the Independent Police Review Division of the city auditor's office to review police internal affairs investigations. The committee has upheld the results of reviews in the majority of cases.

Pet license push begins

Multnomah County has started mailing infraction notices to pet owners who have failed to license their cats or dogs.

Under a county ordinance, dogs and cats must have a license after living in the county for at least 30 days or after reaching the age of 6 months.

County officials estimate that about a quarter of the county's estimated 148,000 dogs and one-tenth of the 162,000 cats have licenses.

The notices of infraction are going out to pet owners who have ignored two earlier renewal reminders. If they don't renew within 10 days of the notice, they will be subject to a $100 fine, and the county will forward the account to a collection agency.

'Holding pet owners responsible is a necessary step the county must take,' said Mike Oswald, director of Multnomah County Animal Services.

Fees generated by the licenses help pay for the county's Animal Services operation.

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Ñ Tribune staff

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