One Thousand Days Transformed - The Campaign for Cedarville

by Cara Groves, Student Public Relations Writer

Walking through his village in Nigeria, Dr. Samson Amos, chair and associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Cedarville University, heard a woman’s persistent cries.  

Having recently graduated with his Ph.D. in pharmacology from the University of Nigeria, Amos knew he could not ignore his neighbor’s cries. He found her with eyes closed and tears streaming down her face — she had recently been diagnosed with breast cancer.  

Upon hearing Amos’ familiar voice, the woman said, “Samson, please help women like me.” Moved with compassion, Amos knew he was being called to use his gifts to help others through cancer research.  

“I may not have all the answers, but I can depend upon the knowledge that God has given me to find solutions to human disease,” Amos said. “That woman was my first encounter with cancer and since, I’ve seen how cancer affects humanity. I asked God to use me as an instrument to help the world better understand this disease.”  

Amos began working for the National Institute for Pharmaceutical Research in Abuja, Nigeria, as a researcher and professor. There, he studied the effects of natural products — plants, fruits and vegetables — on different disease states, including hypertension, diabetes, malaria and sickle cell disease. Upon moving to the United States in 2000, Amos began training at the University of Virginia so he could better understand the molecular basis of cancer growth, specifically in the brain and prostate. Ten years later, after successfully publishing several research papers on cancer research, Amos joined Cedarville University’s faculty in the school of pharmacy.   

“I was drawn to Cedarville because of its mission and vision,” Amos said. “Most importantly, Cedarville gave me the platform to share my faith and genuinely come alongside students to make a significant kingdom impact.”  

Despite the change of environment, Amos continued studying cancer cells and the molecular basis of cancer growth, while exploring the effects of natural products on various diseases — specifically targeting brain tumors.  

“I wanted to research the use of plant compounds to help in the management of brain tumors and glioblastomas,” Amos said. “When a patient develops a glioblastoma, they are placed on a drug called Temozolomide, which has a minimal clinical outcome. Because of this, I wanted to find out whether there were things in nature that could help us unravel the mystery of this disease and better manage brain tumors.”  

Amos ResearchDue to the resistance and low clinical outcomes of Temozolomide on both the tumor and patient, Amos decided to research whether he could use a lower dose of Temozolomide, as well as a small dose of two different natural products found in plants to treat brain tumors as well as other cancers.  

Using an in vitro setting — the use of a bench in the lab as opposed to live animals — Amos and his team of Cedarville Doctor of Pharmacy students studied the effect of both agents to treat brain tumors. The results were overwhelming.  

"Our preliminary data in vitro clearly shows that this combination is synergistic,” Amos said. “When we use a low dose of Temozolomide and our natural product, we have a better biological readout than when we use a higher concentration of Temozolomide.”  

Encouraged by the positive results, Amos plans to continue his research with the help of his students.  

“I have had many Cedarville students from pharmacy, math and science who have expressed interest in our cancer research,” Amos said. “If these students have an interest, it behooves me to train and come alongside them in their passion.”  

Amos’ cancer research is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Cedarville students. Already, their work is being cited in research projects. Other educational institutions are also vying to come alongside Cedarville’s School of Pharmacy in this research.  

But, despite the initial success, Amos sees their research having a deeper kingdom impact.  

"I want to ensure that when students graduate from Cedarville, they have all that is required for them to be successful clinicians,” Amos said. “But more importantly, I want them to carry Christ into their hospital and allow patients to see the genuine and compassionate care that Christ has for all humanity.”  

The voice in Nigeria that spurred Amos toward cancer research has been silenced as she ultimately passed away from breast cancer. However, Amos vows to continue searching for a medical breakthrough for cancer so he can help future voices who are facing a cancer diagnosis.  

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