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Thursday, January 5th, 2017


Deputies Seize Drugs, Weapons, Cash In Siler City

Items Found On Mr Tyson

On January 3, Chatham County Sheriff’s Office personnel conducted a search of 240 Alex Watson Road, Siler City, and subsequently seized 304.3 grams of marijuana, three firearms and $1,497 in US currency. Investigators also collected scales, bags, and other paraphernalia from the residence.

The Chatham County Sheriff’s Office has charged Andre Tyrone Alston, 44, of 240 Alex Watson Road, Siler City, with possession with intent to sell/deliver a schedule VI controlled substance, felony possession of marijuana, maintaining a vehicle/dwelling/place for a controlled substance, possession of a firearm by a felon, and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Andre Tyrone Alston

Alston has been given a $50,000 secured bond and is scheduled to appear in Chatham County District Court in Pittsboro on January 27, 2017.

UNC-Chapel Hill Researchers Use Light To Launch Drugs From Red Blood Cells


Scientists at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill have developed a breakthrough technique that uses light to activate a drug stored in circulating red blood cells so that it is released exactly when and where it is needed.

The work, led by Fred Eshelman Distinguished Professor David Lawrence in the Eshelman School of Pharmacy, has profound implications for the field of drug delivery by using red blood cells to carry drugs and then using light to release them in precise locations. The technique, which overcomes a decades-long scientific hurdle, could drastically reduce the amount of a drug needed to treat disease and thus side effects.

“Using light to treat a disease site has a lot of benefits beyond the isn’t-that-cool factor,” said Lawrence, whose work is published in the journal Angewandte Chemie. “Those benefits could include avoiding surgery and the risk of infection, making anesthesia unnecessary and allowing people to treat themselves by shining a light on a problem area, such as an arthritic knee.”

Lawrence and his team attached a drug molecule to vitamin B12 and loaded the compound into red blood cells, which can circulate for up to four months, providing a long-lasting reservoir of medicine that can be tapped as needed. They then demonstrated their ability to overcome a longtime technical hurdle: using long-wavelength light to penetrate deep enough into the body to break molecular bonds; in this case, the drug linked to vitamin B12.

Here’s the rub: Long-wavelength light can penetrate much more deeply into the body, but it doesn’t carry as much energy as short wavelength light, and cannot typically break molecular bonds. To activate the drug with long-wavelength light, Lawrence and his team had to figure out how to do it in a way that required less energy.

“That’s the trick, and that’s where we’ve been successful,” said Lawrence.

Lawrence’s team solved the energy problem by introducing a weak energy bond between vitamin B12 and the drug and then attached a fluorescent molecule to the bond. The fluorescent molecule acts as an antenna, capturing long wavelength light and using it to cut the bond between the drug and the vitamin carrier.

Lawrence pointed to some complex and deadly cancers where physicians might have a better chance of helping the patient if a wide array of anti-cancer agents could be used.

“The problem is when you start using four or five very toxic drugs you’re going to have intolerable side effects,” he said. “However, by focusing powerful drugs at a specific site, it may be possible to significantly reduce or eliminate the side effects that commonly accompany cancer chemotherapy.”

Lawrence has also created a company in partnership with UNC, Iris BioMed, to further develop the technology to be used in humans. Lawrence is a member of the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center and professor in the College of Arts and Sciences and School of Medicine.

Carolina’s MLK Celebration Week Begins Jan. 15


The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s 2017 Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration Week, begins on Jan. 15. This year’s event, “Keeping the Faith: A Call to Press On,” features events dedicated to the intersection of diversity, inclusion and social justice, including keynote addresses by journalist and producer Soledad O’Brien and state Senator Valerie Foushee.

The annual MLK University/Community Banquet, MLK Day of Service 5K and the MLK Keynote Lecture and Awards Ceremony kick off the week of activities, which also includes discussions and performances focused on highlighting King’s legacy of service and social justice advocacy.

University/Community MLK Banquet with Senator Foushee

William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education

Sunday, Jan. 15 – 5 p.m.

 The week begins with the 32nd annual University/Community Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Banquet and Award Presentation, hosted by the MLK University/Community Planning Corporation in partnership with UNC Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. The Corporation is a non-profit group founded in 1993 that raises scholarship funds for high school students in Chapel Hill, Carrboro and Orange County and Carolina students who work to improve the quality of life for everyone in the community. Each year, the Corporation also honors citizens in “recognition of enduring service to humanity by word and by deed” through the Annual Martin Luther King, Jr., Citizen Awards.

Senator Foushee will give the keynote at this annual banquet. Prior to becoming a North Carolina State Senator in 2013, Foushee was a member of the N.C. House of Representatives, chaired both the Board of Commissioners in Orange County and Board of Education for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School system and served in the Chapel Hill Police Department for 21 years.

Senator Valerie Foushee

 For additional information, contact MLK Celebrations co-coordinator Cameron Congleton at

“The Time is Now” Day of Service 5K Run

Starts at the Old Well (Cameron Avenue)

Monday, Jan. 16 – 7:30 a.m.

 On-site registration for the run begins at 6:30 a.m. at the Campus Y. In keeping with Dr. King’s lifelong commitment to bridge building, all funds raised by the run will be donated to the Faith Danielle Hedgepeth Scholarship, which celebrates and honors the life of this former student. A biology major, Hedgepeth’s goal was to become a pediatrician in the hopes of giving back to her community and the people of the Haliwa-Saponi Indian tribe.

For additional information, contact MLK Celebrations Co-Coordinator Jackie Ceron-Hernandez at

MLK Keynote Lecture and Awards Ceremony with Soledad O’Brien

Memorial Hall

Tuesday, Jan. 17 – 7:30 p.m.

 Recipients of the University’s MLK Scholarship and Unsung Hero Awards will be recognized and a keynote address will be delivered by award winning journalist, documentarian, news anchor and producer Soledad O’Brien.

Soledad O'Brien

In 2013, O’Brien launched Starfish Media Group, a multi-platform media production and distribution company dedicated to uncovering and producing empowering stories that take a challenging look at issues of race, class, wealth, poverty and opportunity, through personal stories. She is the originator of the highly successful documentary series “Black in America” and “Latino in America” and a contributor of programming to CNN, HBO Real Sports and Al Jazeera America. O’Brien and her husband also created the PowHERful Foundation to help provide disadvantaged young women access and success at college.

UNC Catalyst Initiative Aims To Create, Share Tools To Fight Rare Diseases


Freely giving researchers the tools and knowledge to tackle rare and orphaned diseases is the mission of UNC Catalyst, a new endeavor the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has launched with a $2 million grant from the Eshelman Institute for Innovation. UNC Catalyst will provide patient groups and rare-disease organizations with the knowledge and research tools to train scientists to create new treatments.

“Science has cracked the human genome, but translating that knowledge into new medicines has been painfully slow,” said Bob Blouin, director of the Eshelman institute and dean of the Eshelman School of Pharmacy. “This is especially true for rare diseases, which suffer from a lack of visibility, resources and research expertise. UNC Catalyst will create and freely share the tools and the basic expertise currently missing in the study of many rare conditions.”

According to the National Institutes of Health, a rare or orphan disease in the U.S. affects fewer than 200,000 people. There are more than 6,800 rare diseases. Many are genetic, often caused by a single-gene mutation and include conditions such as cystic fibrosis, Huntington’s disease and muscular dystrophy.

Over the past decade, the DNA mutations associated with many rare diseases have been identified, but there has been little success moving from knowledge of the gene to a treatment. Other factors include a lack of high-quality research tools available for these diseases and too few researchers trained to work in the field.

UNC Catalyst will partner with the international Structural Genomics Consortium and rare disease groups, such as the Genetic Alliance, to recruit, train and fund research scientists. These scientists will create tools needed to study the physical effects these genetic mutations have on the body and create a framework for designing a new treatment. To magnify and accelerate the impact of this initiative, researchers across the globe will have unrestricted access to the research tools generated by UNC Catalyst.

“The hundreds of rare disease advocacy organizations in Genetic Alliance’s network will benefit greatly from this partnership,” said Sharon Terry, president and CEO of Genetic Alliance. “We have long worked for an open-science scalable approach to build research tools and support the necessary talent to accelerate solutions to ultimately ameliorate suffering in the millions of individuals affected by rare diseases. This answers that need, and we are delighted to work with these partners.”

Working in partnership with the Structural Genomics Consortium and Genetic Alliance, the UNC Catalyst for Rare Diseases will create a dedicated laboratory and data hub at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Help Needed to Identify At-Large Armed Robbery Suspects


Shortly before 1 PM this afternoon, two suspects entered the Seagroves Supply store located at 8321 HWY 751, Durham, and brandished a handgun while demanding money from the clerk.

The suspects are described as two males between 5’10” and 6’0” tall. They have facial hair and are approximately between 25-35 years old. Both suspects were captured on surveillance video.

The suspects left the store with an undisclosed amount of cash and headed north on HWY 751 in a burgundy, 4-door Ford passenger car. Anyone with information on the location or identity of the suspects should contact Investigator Meyer with the Chatham County Sheriff’s Office by calling 919-542-2911.