Day 1 :
University of Illinois at Chicago, USA
Ananda M Chakrabarty is a Distinguished University Professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago College of Medicine. His research interest involves development of promiscuous bacterial protein/peptide drugs with anticancer, anti-viral and anti-parasitic activities. He is the Co-founder of two start-up companies, CDG Therapeutics Inc., in Chicago and Amrita Therapeutics in India.
It is widely recognized that anticancer drugs are pricey and often involve intravenous injections, thus limiting their usefulness and affordability to people in rich countries. People in poor countries or people living in rural areas often do not have access to potent anticancer drugs. Our efforts have been directed to protein products of pathogenic bacteria such as Pseudomonas aeruginosa for potential cancer treatment. One such cancer fighting protein, azurin, has shown significant tumor regression in mice. Since proteins are designated as biologics, and thus requiring to undergo stringent regulation by the USFDA for clinical trials, a company, CDG Therapeutics, Inc. (www.cdgti.com) has used a fragment of azurin termed p28, a peptide of 28 amino acids, for both pre-clinical and phase I clinical trials. P28 showed no toxicity in a variety of animals, whereupon the FDA approved a phase I trial of p28 in 15 stage IV cancer patients with solid tumors such as melanoma, colon, sarcoma, prostate and pancreas. These tumors were resistant to all conventional drugs and the patients were terminally ill with a life expectancy of about 6 months. When administered through intravenous injections, p28 demonstrated very little toxicity but significant beneficial effects including partial and complete regression of these drug resistant tumors in 4 patients. Encouraged by such results, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) sponsored a second phase I trial in 9 major hospitals in the US in pediatric brain tumor patients in October, 2013. That trial has been on-going for more than 2 years (http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01975116) suggesting that p28 not only demonstrated acceptable toxicity but significant regression of the tumors in some patients. Indeed, it is important to note that the USFDA has approved on December 02, 2015, the designation of azurin-p28 as an orphan drug for the treatment of brain tumor glioma. Another company Amrita Therapeutics in India (www.amritatherapeutics.com) has developed similar bacterial peptides as potential anticancer drugs, indicating the role that bacterial proteins/peptides can play in cancer therapy. Additionally, azurin gene has been cloned and expressed in plant cells. Oral consumption of such azurin-expressing plant extracts by mice allows tumor regression in tumor-bearing mice, demonstrating the potential usefulness of plant-expressed bacterial anticancer proteins in future cancer therapy.
US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases, USA
Time : 11:30-12:15
Kei Amemiya is a Principal Investigator in the Bacteriology Division at the US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases. He has been at USAMRIID since 1999 and has been involved in developing vaccine candidates against plague, glanders and melioidosis. His interest is in studying the host’s immune response to the pathogen and vaccines in small and large animal models. Before coming to USAMRIID, he was at the National Institutes of Health and Georgetown University, where he was studying the host response to bacterial and viral pathogens or autoimmune diseases in humans.
|There are many new and emerging diseases that are yet to be understood in regards to host-pathogen interactions, which makes effective treatment against these diseases still far in the future. Two emerging diseases that fall into this category are caused by Burkholderia pseudomallei and B. mallei, which are responsible for the diseases melioidosis and glanders, respectively. Although these two organisms are closely related, they exhibit differences in inducing the host innate immune response and interaction with specific hosts. For the past few years, we have been assessing different small and large animals to establish a model for melioidosis and glanders that would be suitable for evaluating candidate vaccines and therapeutic countermeasures against these two diseases. We have been examining the more sensitive BALB/c mouse and more resistant C57BL/6 mouse to their susceptibility to be infected by different strains of the pathogens. In addition, we have also been evaluating several species of nonhuman primates that could potentially serve as large animal models for melioidosis and glanders. We will discuss the possible benefits of selecting the small and large animal models for these two emerging diseases for evaluating future candidate vaccines and therapeutic countermeasures.|
Dr Rath Research Institute BV, USA
Anna Goc obtained her MS and PhD from the Jagiellonian University, Cracow, Poland. She has carried out her Postdoctoral training at Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, OH, and the University of Georgia, Athens, GA. She also worked as a Research Biologist at the VA Medical Center, Augusta, GA. Currently she is working as a Head of Infectious Diseases Division at Dr. Rath Research Institute, Santa Clara, CA and she leads a lyme disease project. She has published over 30 peer-reviewed publications, two book chapters, and has presented her research at numerous national and international scientific meetings. She is also an active member on one Editorial Board and the recipient of several national and international awards.
Lyme disease is a multi-systemic bacterial infection transmitted by ticks that has emerged as the most common vector-borne disease in the USA and Europe. Current antibiotic therapies are associated with the well-known side effects and are not fully effective, especially against its persistent form, which calls for the development of new treatments. Naturally derived substances that are safe and if properly combined, could have enhanced efficacy through their synergistic or additive interactions, may serve as an alternative way for infected patients. Over 50 non-synthetic plant-derived compounds and extracts were tested in vitro individually and in combinations against active and persistent forms of B. burgdorferi (prevalent in US) and B. garrini (prevalent in Europe). Several of these compounds individually and in combinations showed high efficacy in eliminating all pleomorphic forms of studied Borrelia spp. In vivo results revealed that this defined combination of the most active compounds is effective in ~80% of clearing infection, while pre-clinical human study confirmed that this defined composition may play an important role in combating Borrelia spp. and serves as an adjunct or alternative treatment. The study reported here is a part of an ongoing pre-clinical development plan that could form the basis for clinical trials.