Oral Formulation of Amphotericin B: Vancouver company, iCo Therapeutics Inc., has partnered with UBC to advance Dr. Kishor Wasan’s new formulation of Amphotericin B for the treatment of leishmaniasis and other fungal infections. In developed countries, fungal infections are a leading contributor to death among immunocompromised individuals (e.g. cancer and AIDS patients). In the developing world, leishmaniasis is contracted by 2 million people a year. Dr. Wasan’s formulation, being developed to be taken orally without serious side-effects, will be a significant improvement on the current treatment which is expensive, can only be administered by injection and is highly toxic. This makes the technology ideal for application in the developing world, and our commercialization agreement with iCo ensures that development of the formulation will embrace our global access objectives.
CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network (CTN)
The CIHR Canadian HIV Trials Network (CTN) facilitates the conduct of clinical trials into HIV and related co-infections, working within a unique partnership of investigators, institutions, physicians, nurses and collaborators. CTN provides investigators with services such as protocol development, data management, project management, data analysis and patient enrollment funding. Internationally, CTN is partnering with investigators and institutions in Africa, Russia, and South America, working on vaccine preparedness and co-infection studies such as HIV/TB and HIV/HCV. The CTN is actively exploring opportunities to partner with investigators conducting research in HIV+ populations or requiring the services we provide.
The national directors of CTN are both UBC faculty members and principal contributors to our mission and vision, as well as delivery of our services. In addition, 3 members of the CTN are UBC faculty or staff members, assigned full-time to working with CTN in data methodology, statistical analysis and other core service areas of CTN.
Innate Defence Regulators:
With support from the Grand Challenges in Global Health program, we developed innate defence regulator (IDR) peptides that work by selectively modulating innate immunity (enhancing protective innate immunity while suppressing potentially harmful pro-inflammatory responses). IDRs have demonstrated, both alone and in the presence of suboptimal antimicrobial treatments (mimicking situations of resistance), protection in animal models against invasive S. aureus infections (via IV, IP and SC), local thigh S. aureus infections (via IM), MRSA, VRE, and Salmonella, as well as protection in mice against E. coli, P. aeruginosa, M. tuberculosis, Franciscella, Citrobacter, Pox virus, and cerebral malaria, many with collaborators. These effects can be relatively modest ranging from a 1-4 log change in bacterial load to 75% increase in survival, but are accompanied by a decreased inflammatory response and substantially reduced morbidity. Mechanistic studies in human PBMC and mouse models suggest similar responses of both species.
Vaccine Adjuvants: IDR peptides show efficacy as components of vaccine adjuvants. In collaboration with the Vaccine Infectious Diseases Organization in Saskatoon, we created a formulation of three adjuvant components (CpG oligo, polyphosphazene, and proprietary IDR peptides) that gives (protective) antibody titres (mixed Th1/Th2 response) of 40,000 in a single injection against a model antigen pertussis toxoid; furthermore we have evidence that this works via the mucosal route and in adult and neonatal mice and pigs. Protection exceeds that afforded by the commercial vaccine Quadracel.