Team Finds New Point of Attack on HIV for Vaccine Development
TSRI Announces ‘Scripps Advance,’ a New Drug Discovery Initiative
Researchers Find Connection Between Gene Mutation, Key Symptoms of Autism
Scientists Identify Critical Protein Complex Involved in Learning and Memory



Of Note

Stroke Drug from Griffin Lab Advances to Phase 2 Clinical Trials

A new drug for stroke that originated in the laboratory of TSRI Professor John Griffin and University of Southern California Professor Berislav V. Zlokovic will enter a multicenter Phase 2 clinical trial conducted by ZZ Biotech, a Houston-based pharmaceutical company, and supported by an $8 million grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and ZZ Biotech. 

“The variant of Activated Protein C, 3K3A-APC, which will be tested in stroke patients, is the result of more than a decade of passionate research on the part of a dedicated Scripps team of investigators that includes Drs. Mosnier, Gale, Fernandez and Xiao Xu and collaborations with Professor Zlokovic of USC,” said Griffin.

TSRI licensed development rights to ZZ Biotech for the experimental drug 3K3A-APC, which will be evaluated for use in combination with tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) to treat patients suffering from acute ischemic stroke. In animal studies, 3K3A-APC has helped decrease the risk of internal bleeding caused by the clot-busting tPA, currently the only drug approved to treat ischemic strokes shortly after onset.

Ischemic strokes block arteries, depriving the brain of oxygen. A synthesized variant of a naturally occurring enzyme that plays a role in the regulation of blood clotting and inflammation, 3K3A-APC is designed to protect the brain and cerebral blood vessels and stimulates growth of new neurons while reducing the risk treatment-related bleeding.

For more information, see the news releases from Cedars-Sinai and ZZ Biotech

Kristin Baldwin Receives Las Patronas Grant

Kristin Baldwin, associate professor in TSRI’s Department of Molecular and Cellular Neuroscience, has received a grant of nearly $12,000 from Las Patronas, a San Diego nonprofit group, to fund the purchase of a new biomedical freezer for her laboratory.

Baldwin’s research focuses on advancing stem cell technology to study genomes and the brain. The award will ensure that Baldwin’s research with induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS cells) will continue uninterrupted.

Established in 1946, the Las Patronas organization has donated more than $17 million to San Diego charitable causes in the areas of health, education, social services and cultural arts.

John Teijaro Selected as Baxter Young Investigator

John Teijaro, assistant professor in the TSRI Departments of Immunology and Microbial Science and Chemical Physiology, has received the 2014 Baxter Young Investigator Award, presented by the Donald E. and Delia B. Baxter Foundation. The foundation, based in Carlsbad, California, supports medical research and higher education programs.

Teijaro’s research centers on “chemical immunology,” combining cell-based phenotypic screening and chemoproteomics to decipher how certain immune cell populations promote excessive inflammation or immune suppression, leading to autoimmune diseases, bacterial sepsis and cancer pathogenesis. The goal is to identify new immune biology targets and drug leads to treat diseases potentiated by inflammatory immune pathology.

The $100,000 Baxter Young Investigator award is designed to help prepare and support early-career scientists, providing seed funds to develop preliminary data and advance a research program toward eventual competition for federal or other external funding.

In addition to Teijaro’s award, the Baxter Foundation has provided TSRI a $60,000 grant to support two first-year graduate students. A TSRI supporter for 18 years, the foundation has contributed a total of more than $2 million to the institute.

Scripps Florida to Host Biology and Aging Symposium

The TSRI Department of Metabolism and Aging will present a Spring Symposium featuring more than 30 of the field’s leading researchers on May 4 to 7 in the Rodney Fink Educational Pavilion on the Scripps Florida campus. The event, themed “Therapeutic Approaches for Extending Healthspan: The Next 10 Years,” will focus on strategies to identify mechanisms of aging and develop therapeutics promoting healthy aging.

The symposium will begin Sunday, May 4, with registration at 4 PM and a welcome reception at 6 PM. The 7 PM evening session’s keynote speakers and their topics include:

  • Steven Austad, professor at the Barshop Institute for Longevity and Aging Studies in San Antonio, Texas, “The History and Future of Aging.”
  • James Kirkland, professor at the Mayo Clinic, “Developing Therapeutics for Aging.”
  • Ron Kohanski, deputy director of the National Institutes of Health’s National Institute on Aging, “Aging Research in the Next Decade.”

The symposium organizers include TSRI’s Chair of the Department of Metabolism and Aging Roy Smith, Professor Paul Robbins, Associate Professors Courtney Miller and Laura Niedernhofer, and Assistant Professor Matt Gill. Others on the organizing committee are Ana Maria Cuervo, professor at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine; James Kirkland, professor at the Mayo Clinic; and Tom Rando, professor at the Stanford School of Medicine and deputy director of the Stanford Center on Longevity.

The event’s scientific session will cover a wide range of topics, including model systems of aging, mechanisms and pathways, stem cells, metabolic/inflammatory changes, biomarkers, anti-aging drug screening and the future of aging research. Additional program information is available on the symposium website.

Send comments to: mikaono[at]