Bryan Pata case remains unsolved one year later

This Wednesday marks the one-year anniversary of Hurricane football player Bryan Pata’s unresolved murder.

Pata, a 22-year-old senior and criminology major, was poised to be drafted by the NFL before he was shot and killed outside his Kendall apartment complex on the night of Nov. 7, 2006. He had been returning home from football practice.

Miami-Dade County police said there are no updates that can be reported, but that officers continue to investigate.

Clint Hurtt, the defensive line coach, told The Miami Herald on Nov. 4 that many football players still become emotional when watching game tapes from last year.

“‘I think they understand they have to move on in life,” Hurtt told The Herald. “That’s something I speak to them about. But that’s been a tough deal for me. I can’t say I’ve moved on from it. So, how can I expect an 18-, 19-year-old guy to say he’s moved on from it?”

In the year since his death, Pata’s family has established the Bryan Pata Foundation, which aims to encourage education and discourage violence among inner-city youth. They have planned a candlelight vigil for Wednesday night in front of North Miami High School, which Pata attended for several years.

Hurtt said that he remembers Pata every day and so do the football players. Some players write No. 95 on their cleats and wristbands.

“I tell those kids all the time if they come speak to me about it that there is nothing wrong with [Pata] being on your mind, the love and respect you have for him as a person,” Hurtt told The Herald.

Mystery plant may be a cure for prostate cancer

University of Miami scientists discovered that a plant found in the heart of the Amazon rainforest appears to successfully treat prostate cancer.

The plant was initially used in Ecuador as a treatment for cancer, lupus and even AIDS.

Dr. Mark Soloway, chairman of urologic oncology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine and a member of the UM/Sylvester Cancer Center, first heard of the plant dulcamara-translated from Latin as “bittersweet”-when a man diagnosed with prostate cancer told him about the drug that was being sold in South America.

The doctor in Ecuador selling the “bittersweet” drug, Dr. Edwin Sevallos, developed the treatment in the 1970s. Sevallos refused to release the name of the plant because he sought a patent for his medicine, which he successfully marketed in Ecuador as BIRM, for Biological Immune Response Modifier.

However, Soloway eventually succeeded in having samples of the mystery plant sent to UM, where he and fellow researchers Dr. Bal Lokeshwar, a prostate cancer specialist, and Dr. Vinata Lokeshwar, a bladder cancer researcher, tested BIRM’s effectiveness against cancer.

The first stage of their research involved testing BIRM in Petrie dishes. Over half the sampling of prostate cancer cells were killed by a low drug dosage-only eight parts per million.

The second stage of research involved treating cancerous rats with the medicine. Half the rats never developed a tumor, and those that did developed fewer tumors more slowly. By human standards, the amount of medicine the rats received would be about half a cup taken by mouth.

The promising results of early trials led to a $1.2 million sponsorship by the National Institutes of Health for Complementary and Alternative Medicine. UM may seek a partnership with a drug company to help fund clinical trials. Gaining FDA approval is a lengthy process that can cost up to $100 million.

Testing will take three to four years, and no researchers are celebrating BIRM’s success.

“We don’t celebrate. We’re scientists,” Bal Lokeshwar told The Miami Herald on Oct.16. “Our reward is to do the work, not to win the prize.”


A silent auction benefitting United Way is open for student bidding for the first time. Items including airplane tickets, hotel stays, restaurant certificates, iPods, iPhones and cameras are open for bidding at the Business Services Silent Auction Website, Bidding ends Nov. 30.

November 5, 2007


The Miami Hurricane

Student newspaper at the University of Miami

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The Miami Hurricane is the student newspaper of the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Fla. The newspaper is edited and produced by undergraduate students at UM and is published weekly in print on Tuesdays during the regular academic year.