There has been an increased use of freeze-drying in the pharmaceutical industry over the past few decades. This step converts a liquid product into a solid one without compromising its integrity, thus prolonging its shelf life. The monitoring and optimization of this process is commonly done by trial-and-error, leading to product quality control issues. Therefore, the implementation of new monitoring tools in this process could allow a better understanding and control.
This project will refine an existent technology developed by us for freeze-drying biological and medical solutions to produce powders. Freeze-dried bio-medical powders are used in pharmaceuticals as well as for food. The technology we will refine in this project is called atmospheric spray freeze drying (ASFD) and has the potential to be faster and more economical than current methods and to work for a wider variety of substances than allowed for by current methods. In this project, we will refine the monitoring and control components of the ADFD technology.
Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia (ALL) is a common form of leukemia that affects approximately 3 people per 100,000 individuals, and is the most common form of cancer in children and adolescents. Current therapies are effective in children, however, treatment success in infants, adolescents, and adults needs improvement. Indeed, there is a need for new chemotherapeutic drugs and drug formulations that can improve survival rates in susceptible age groups, reduce relapse rates, and improve outcomes in relapsed patients.
Pulmonary arterial Hypertension (PAH) is a severe disease that affects both the pulmonary vasculature and the heart with no curative options. The apelinergic system which can be defined by the cell surface receptor APJ, mostly expressed in the heart and vessels, and its endogenous ligands Apelin and ELABELA appear as a promising therapeutic pathway in the context of cardiovascular dysfunction.
The development of effective immunotherapies, vaccines and immunomodulatory drugs are the main success stories from the last years in drugs development for cancer, infectious diseases and chronic disorders. We are developing a simple and robust new platform to evaluate the next generation of immunotherapeutics treatments at pre-clinical stage. This platform is called Immune Complex Phagocytic Assessment (ICPA).
Neuropsychiatric disorders, including depression and anxiety, represent prevalent and disabling medical conditions affecting society. Despite the urgent need for novel pharmacotherapeutics to treat these conditions, there are few new drugs in development by the pharmaceutical industry. Cannabis has been used by humans for thousands of years to self-medicate a range of different neuropsychiatric symptoms, although few studies have addressed this issue in a scientific manner.
Red blood cells are stored in blood collection centres for blood transfusion; however, some of red blood cells are discarded due to the poor quality after storage for a period of time because the poor quality of the red blood cells will cause health problems in individuals after transfusion. In this project, we are going to test new compounds derived from natural anti-freezing proteins by a Canada-based biotech company Sirona for better storage of red blood cells. Hopefully, we will find that these new compounds can improve the quality of the red blood cells after storage.
The complement system is an essential component of innate immunity, but also causes self-damage when the system is aberrantly activated or self-protective capacity is exceeded. There are many conditions where failure to protect against self-damage from the complement system has been implicated in the pathology, including Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease, Lou Gehrigs disease, paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinemia, atypical hemolytic uremia syndrome and age-related macular degeneration.
Membrane proteins such as ion channels, transporters or G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are excellent but difficult drug targets involved in a large number of life-threatening diseases and conditions. These proteins, over-expressed and essential for disease onset and progression, are naturally targeted by toxins from venomous organisms. During evolution, these toxins have been optimized to efficiently target physiologically-relevant proteins involved in ion channel opening or closure, thus incapacitating the prey or defending against predators.
The continuum of HIV care is highly complex. It includes prevention, testing, patient care, treatment, and support services. This project will help Providence Health Care utilise its limited resources to provide the best treatment and care for people living with HIV in Vancouver. Care for HIV patients includes antiretroviral therapy, treatment of co-morbidities, monitoring clinical markers of disease progression (CD4 count and viral load), and support services to ensure treatment adherence and retention in care.