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.
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.
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.
Proteins can exist in two forms: left-handed (L) or right-handed (D); however, for indeterminate reasons life on this planet only uses the L-form. When studied in more detail, both protein forms possess identical physiochemical and biological properties. Yet, D-proteins show minimal proteolytic degradation and fail to elicit immune responses in animals, due to their unnatural arrangement for recognition in biological systems. Accordingly, the proposed project seeks to develop synthetic D-proteins as biopharmaceutical molecules.
Rapid identification of bacteria in blood is important for the early identification of infection and emergence of resistance to therapy. There is no wishful, fast and simple, technological solution for this quest. Some of infections are life-threatening and requires fast and focused drug treatment as soon as possible. The present approach is to use empirical therapy and wait for culture results (if positive) to modify treatment, i.e. to remove unaffected drugs and add/increase drugs which will attenuate identified pathogen.
A higher incidence of colon cancer is reported in populations consuming high amounts of red meat, as well as in patients with inflammatory bowel disease, where gut bacteria participate in the development of inflammation. We found that dietary supplementation with heme, an element found at high levels in blood, is detrimental to gut health and it fosters the growth of harmful bacteria. In this project, we propose to establish new procedures for both the manipulation of the gut bacteria (microbiota), as well as its characterization using a new state of the art sequencer.
Cancer arises as a result of deleterious aberrations in the DNA, RNA and proteins of cells. The accumulation of genetic abnormalities, over lifetime, perturbs critical functions of cells, which may ultimately give rise to tumor. However, vast majority of these aberrations are not essential and only small fractions, known as driver genes, are critical for tumor growth. Identification of driver aberrations is a challenging task, but is critical for optimal cancer management. Prostate cancer (PCa) is the most common cancer to affect Canadian men.