University of Pittsburgh and University of Delaware researchers received funding for research covering innovative therapies targeting pulmonary fibrosis (FB) to Gene delivery to or editing Hematopoietic (blood) Stem and Progenitor Cells (HSPCs). Two clinical investigators were awarded $250,000 each by a collaboration involving CSL Behring and the University City Science Center. The two investigators include Cecilia Yates, PHD (University of Pittsburgh) and Eleftherios Papoutsakis, PhD (University of Delaware).
University of Pittsburgh
This research announcement involves a research area supporting FibroKine peptides as a new, targeted therapeutic strategy to address fibrotic diseases, with an emphasis on targeting pro-fibrotic molecules as well as the disruption of multiple disease-causing mechanisms. University of Pittsburgh formed a FibroKine team.
The funds contribute to important work centering on PF previously funded by a grant from the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Medical Innovation. Professor Yates currently is focusing on FibroKine biomimetic peptides (BPs) targeting underlying causes of PF. As it turns out, BPs, peptides designed and developed in the lab to imitate the action of proteins, are the foundation for Fibrokine—where BPs imitate the CXCL10 protein—one with anti-fibrotic properties, reports Margarida Azevedo with Pulmonary Fibrosis News. The hope is that this funding will directly contribute to Professor Yates and team’s effort to test FibroKine’s efficacy in treating and stopping the progression of pulmonary fibrosis, reports Ms. Azevedo.
University of Delaware
Eleftherios Papoutsakis, PhD, and team at the University of Delaware will utilize the funds to center their attention on the use of cell derived microparticles and vesicles for the treatment of hematological diseases as well as in experimental gene therapies.
Gene delivery to or editing Hematopoietic (blood) Stem and Progenitor Cells (HSPCs) can offer therapeutic benefit to patients for a variety of hematological disorders from low platelet count diseases to primary immune deficiencies such as Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome. Now with the support of CSL Behring, Dr. Papoutsakis will investigate the use of human MkMPs: 1) to promote in vivo platelet biogenesis as a potential treatment for thrombocytopenias and 2) for the in vivo delivery of DNA, RNA and proteins to HSPCs in gene therapy applications.
CSL Behring—Science Center Research Initiative
Launched in October 2018, the CSL Behring-Science Center Research Initiative seeks to identify promising therapies while infusing capital and support for the ultimate goal of driving research from lab to bedside. CSL Behring focuses on five therapeutic areas of expertise, including: immunology and neurology; hematology and thrombosis; respiratory; cardiovascular and metabolic; and transplant.
About CSL Behring
CSL Behring is a global biotherapeutics leader driven by its promise to save lives. Focused on serving patients’ needs by using the latest technologies, we develop and deliver innovative therapies that are used to treat coagulation disorders, primary immune deficiencies, hereditary angioedema, inherited respiratory disease, and neurological disorders. The company’s products are also used in cardiac surgery, burn treatment and to prevent hemolytic disease of the newborn. CSL Behring operates one of the world’s largest plasma collection networks, CSL Plasma. The parent company, CSL Limited (ASX:CSL;USOTC:CSLLY), headquartered in Melbourne, Australia, employs more than 25,000 people, and delivers its life-saving therapies to people in more than 70 countries.
About the Science Center
Located in the heart of uCity Square, the Science Center is a mission-driven nonprofit that commercializes promising technology, cultivates talent and convenes people to inspire action. For over 50 years, the Science Center has supported startups, research, and economic development across the emerging technology sectors. As a result, Science Center-supported companies account for one out of every 100 jobs in the Greater Philadelphia region and drive $13 billion in economic activity in the region annually. By providing the right help at the right time, the Science Center is turning bright ideas into businesses and nurturing a workforce to support our 21st century economy.
Cecilia Yates, PhD, Associate Professor
Eleftherios Papoutsakis, PhD, Unidel Eugene Du Pont Chair, DBI Faculty Yellow
Call to Action: This initiative is accepting applications from researchers at 28 institutions located in six states. 2020 grants are given to a maximum of three proposals up to $400,000 each. The deadline for application is April 13, 2020. See the link.