APR 07, 2016 06:00 AM PDT

Ligand-Targeted Therapies for Cancer and Autoimmune Diseases

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  • Director of the Purdue Center for Drug Discovery Ralph C. Corley Distinguished Professor Department of Chemistry, Purdue University
      Dr. Philip S. Low is the Director of the Purdue University Center for Drug Discovery and the Ralph C. Corley Distinguished Professor of Chemistry. Dr. Low has spent over 39 years exploring novel methods for drug targeting, and characterizing the structure, function, and pathologies of the erythrocyte membrane. He has published >350 scientific articles and has >50 US patents/patents pending. Eight drugs stemming from his research are undergoing human clinical trials and three companies (Endocyte Inc., OnTarget Laboratories Inc., and HuLow LLC) have been founded to commercialize his discoveries. Dr. Low has received an NIH MERIT Award, the ACS Award for Cancer Research (Sosnovsky Award), the AACR Award for Outstanding Chemistry in Cancer Research, both of Purdue's awards for outstanding research (McCoy and Sigma Xi Awards), the University's highest career achievement award (Morrill Award), and numerous other National and International awards. Dr. Low received his B.S. in Chemistry from Brigham Young University (1971) and his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from UCSD (1975).


    We have been developing methods to target drugs specifically to pathologic cells, thereby avoiding collateral toxicity to healthy cells. In the case of cancer, we have exploited up-regulation of the folate receptor on cancers of the ovary, lung, kidney, endometrium and breast to target imaging and therapeutic agents to these cancers. Clinical trials of six folate-linked drugs demonstrate that the ligand-targeting strategy holds promise for increasing drug potency while reducing unwanted toxicity. Data on treatment of tumor-bearing mice, dogs, and humans will be presented. We have also developed a targeting ligand that selectively delivers attached drugs to PSMA on prostate cancer cells. Imaging and therapeutic studies suggest that this targeting ligand can not only improve the diagnosis of prostate cancer, but also enhance treatment of the disease. Recent pre-clinical and clinical data on this targeting ligand confirm this anticipation. Additional cancer-specific ligands that target malignancies of the bladder, pancreas, stomach, brain, liver, colon, skin and esophagus are also under investigation. Moreover, use of these ligands to “light up” cancer tissues with tumor-targeted fluorescent dyes during surgeries are being developed and videos of recent surgeries of ovarian and lung cancers will be presented. Finally, ligand-targeted imaging and therapeutic agents for a number of autoimmune and inflammatory diseases (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, atherosclerosis, osteoarthritis, etc.) will also be described.

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