Research Lecture at Nobel Forum – Oct 17 CANCELLED

Research Lecture at Nobel Forum

Date: October 17, 2019, CANCELLED

Solomon H. Snyder, M.D.
Distinguished Service Professor of Neuroscience, Pharmacology and Psychiatry, Department of Neuroscience, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, USA

Venue: Nobel Forum, Nobels väg 2

Host: Professor em Tomas Hökfelt, Karolinska Institutet

Research in our laboratory over the decades has addressed molecular signaling in the brain, including neurotransmitters and their receptors as well as second and third messengers.  Simple, sensitive approaches to labeling neurotransmitter receptors were developed based on the binding of radiolabeled ligands.   Besides elucidating diverse transmitter receptors, these strategies facilitated approaches to intracellular sites such as targets for second messengers such as inositol trisphosphate (IP3).  Biosynthesis of higher inositol polyphosphates such as IP7 was enabled by the isolation and cloning of inositol polyphosphate kinases.  Neurotransmitter gases such as NO,  CO, and H2S were characterized along with their biosynthetic enzymes.  Their physiologic targets were elucidated by approaches such as S-nitrosylation or S-sulfhydration.  D-amino acids, such as D-serine and D-aspartate, were shown to function as neuromodulators/ neurotransmitters, and their biosynthesis characterized.  The rationale for Nature generating such a diversity of synaptic messengers remains an important puzzle.

Information 2019

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine will be announced Monday October 7 at 11.30 at earliest, Nobel Forum, Nobels väg 1, 171 77 Stockholm.

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    • Press releases in English and Swedish
    • Scientific background in English
    • Illustrations, web links and further reading

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Research Lecture – Gilla Kaplan – Nobel Forum – Sep 12

Research Lectures at Nobel Forum
September 12, 2019, 16.00

Gilla Kaplan, Consultant, Gates Medical Research Institute, Honorary Prof. University of Cape Town
Venue: Nobel Forum, Nobels väg 1
Host: Professor Birgitta Henriques Normark Department of Microbiology, Tumor and Cell Biology

Title: Thalidomide re-purposed then reinvented: The road less traveled immune modulation in leprosy and tuberculosis
Thalidomide (a-N-phthalimido-glutarimide), synthesized in 1956, was marketed as a safe, potent, nonbarbiturate sleep inducing sedative, and used as an anti-emetic to quell morning sickness of first trimester pregnancy. In November 1961 the drug was removed from the market following reports of catastrophic fetal abnormalities. While still available, thalidomide was found to resolve the pathological manifestations of the acute reactional state of lepromatous leprosy, erythema nodosum leprosum (ENL), characterized by a painful vasculitic rash, fever, muscle and joint pain, malaise, lymphadenopathy, weight loss and progressive peripheral neuropathy. Thalidomide became the treatment of choice for ENL, in the absence of an understanding of the cause of the development of the reactional state or the mechanism of action of the drug.
To understand the factors involved in the development of ENL we set out to determine how thalidomide interrupted the ENL process using in vitro models of leukocyte function. In 1991, the drug was found to decrease TNF- production by LPS stimulated monocytes in vitro in a dose dependent and selective manner. Other cytokines including IL-1and IL-6 were unaffected. We then showed that the drug reduced the high levels of TNF- in Patient with ENL while reversing the clinical signs and symptoms of the reactional state. Thalidomide was next shown to reduce TNF- in patients with tuberculosis with and without HIV-1 infection, thereby reversing the wasting and inflammatory reactions in both diseases, as well as reducing the viral load in patient with HIV infection. The activity of the drug in TNF- induced diseases including graft-versus host disease, sarcoidosis, scleroderma, LPS induced shock and other acute and chronic inflammatory diseases was evaluated and confirmed.
In order to obtain drugs with increased anti-TNF- activity and reduced or absent toxicities, novel TNF- inhibitors were designed using thalidomide as a template. Molecules with up to 50,000-fold increased anti-TNF- activity and two different modes of action were identified in 1996. One class of drugs, shown to be non-teratogenic and safe to use potent phosphodiesterase 4 inhibitors (PDE4i), were identified and developed for preclinical testing followed by clinical evaluation. The selected PDE4i, when combined with antibiotic treatment of mice and rabbits with pulmonary tuberculosis or tuberculous meningitis, were shown to reduce disease pathology and accelerate mycobacterial clearance from the infected tissues. CC11050, one of the most potent PDE4i, is currently undergoing testing as a host directed therapy to improve treatment of pulmonary TB and to reverse the pathogenesis of ENL in leprosy patients. The results of these studies and their potential therapeutic impact will be discussed.