Plenary Speakers

The 40th CRS Annual Meeting & Exposition plenary speakers offer a unique variety of innovative and thought-provoking subjects. This year's plenary speakers are:

Plenary Lecture - Monday, July 22 from 13:30 - 14:45

Kenzo Takada

Chairman and Founder, Evec, Inc., Professor Emeritus,
Hokkaido University, Japan

Kenzo Takada has studied molecular mechanisms of oncogenesis by Epstein-Barr virus for 40 years. He is the author of over 150 peer-reviewed publications and received the Minister of State for Science and Technology Policy Award and the Hokkaido Science and Technology Award, and he was appointed as Director of the Institute for Genetic Medicine, Hokkaido University, from 2002 to 2006. Evec, Inc., is one of the most successful bio venture companies, having its head office in Sapporo, Japan. It was established in 2003 as a spin-off from Hokkaido University. Evec has a unique technology to produce high-affinity native antibodies from human lymphocytes using Epstein-Barr virus. The method first induces the proliferation of B-lymphocytes from human blood using Epstein-Barr virus and then isolates those producing the antibodies of interest. Licensing agreements have been concluded with Boehringer Ingelheim Pharma (Germany) and Astellas Pharma (Japan) for two types of antibodies in 2008 and 2011, respectively.

Human B-Lymphocytes as a Source of High-Affinity, Really Fully Human Antibodies

The current method of producing antibody medicines is mainly the hybridoma method using transgenic mice grafted with human antibody genes, in which mice are immunized with an excess amount of antigen for a short period, resulting in low-affinity antibodies because of insufficient affinity maturation. In contrast, human blood B-lymphocytes are activated through natural immune reactions, such as the reaction to infection. B-Lymphocytes are stimulated repeatedly with a small amount of antigen, and thus only those producing high-affinity antibodies are activated. Consequently, the lymphocytes producing the high-affinity antibodies are accumulated in human blood. In addition, antibodies made by the hybridoma method are not fully human, because complementarity-determining regions are of mouse origin. Therefore, human lymphocytes are an excellent source of high-affinity, really fully human antibodies. Evec, Inc., has established a unique method to produce high-affinity antibodies from human lymphocytes using Epstein-Barr virus, which induces the proliferation of B-lymphocytes. Licensing agreements have been concluded with European and Japanese pharmaceutical companies for two types of antibodies. This session covers Evec’s antibody technology and experience in license negotiations with Mega Pharmacies.


Plenary Lecture - Tuesday, July 23 from 08:00 - 09:30

Preventing influenza, treating diabetes and preserving vision: case studies in translation of microneedle technology

Mark Prausnitz

Regents' Professor, Love Family Professor in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering, and Director of the Center for Drug Design, Development and Delivery
Georgia Institute of Technology, U.S.A. 

Dr. Mark Prausnitz earned his B.S. from Stanford University in 1988 and his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1994. Dr. Prausnitz teaches an introductory course on engineering calculations, as well as two advanced courses on pharmaceuticals and technical communication, both of which he developed. He also serves the broader scientific and business communities as a frequent consultant, advisory board member and expert witness. Dr. Prausnitz and his colleagues carry out research on biophysical methods of drug delivery, which employ microneedles, ultrasound, lasers, electric fields, heat, convective forces and other physical means to control the transport of drugs, proteins, genes and vaccines into and within the body. A major area of focus involves the use of microneedle patches to apply vaccines to the skin in a painless, minimally invasive manner. In collaboration with Emory University, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other organizations, Dr. Prausnitz’s group is advancing microneedles from device design and fabrication through pharmaceutical formulation and pre-clinical animal studies through studies in human subjects. In addition to developing a self-administered influenza vaccine using microneedles, Dr. Prausnitz is translating microneedles technology especially to make vaccination in developing countries more effective. The Prausnitz group has also developed hollow microneedles for injection into the skin and into the eye in collaboration with Emory University. In the skin, research focuses on insulin administration to human diabetic patients to increase onset of action by targeting insulin delivery to the skin. In the eye, hollow microneedles enable precise targeting of injection to the suprachoroidal space and other intraocular tissues for minimally invasive delivery to treat macular degeneration and other retinal diseases.


Plenary Lecture - Wednesday, July 24 from 09:45 - 11:00

Paula T. Hammond

David H. Koch Professor of Engineering, Department of Chemical Engineering and Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research,
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, U.S.A.

Prof. Paula T. Hammond is the David H. Koch Chair Professor of Engineering in the Department of Chemical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She is also a member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research, the MIT Energy Initiative, and a founding member of the MIT Institute for Soldier Nanotechnology, a multimillion dollar Army-funded university-affiliated research center launched in 2002 that is now in its second phase of funding. She recently served as the executive officer (associate chair) of the Chemical Engineering Department (2008–2011). Her research program focuses on the self-assembly of polymeric nanomaterials; the core of her work is the use of electrostatics and other complementary interactions to generate functional materials with highly controlled architecture. Her research in nanotechnology encompasses the development of new biomaterials to manipulate the materials-biological interface with spatiotemporal control. By using directed and self-assembly of polymers, new materials surfaces and membranes are designed that manipulate protein interactions and cellular behavior. Her research team also investigates novel responsive polymer architectures for targeted nanoparticle drug and gene delivery and self-assembled materials systems for electrochemical energy devices, including fuel cells, batteries, and photovoltaics. Prof. Hammond was awarded the NSF Career Award, the EPA Early Career Award, and the DuPont Young Faculty Award. Prof. Hammond is an associate editor for the journal ACS Nano and serves on the Advisory Board of several additional journals. She is a fellow of the Polymer Chemistry Division of the American Chemical Society, AIMBE fellow, and fellow of the American Physical Society. She was Melvin Calvin Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, Caltech Kavli Distinguished Lecturer, and a Radcliffe Fellow at Harvard University. She received the Georgia Tech Outstanding Young Alumni Award and the Lloyd Ferguson Award for Outstanding Young Scientist. In April 2010, Hammond was named Scientist of the Year at the Harvard Foundation’s Albert Einstein Science Conference. She was featured in 2011 as one of the Top 100 Materials Scientists by Thomson Reuters, based on citation and overall impact, and she has published over 200 papers in refereed journals.

Electrostatic Nanolayer Delivery Platforms: From Macro- to Nanopharmacies

The alternating adsorption of oppositely charged molecular species, known as the electrostatic layer-by-layer (LBL) process, is a simple and elegant method of constructing highly tailored ultrathin polymer and organic–inorganic composite thin films. We have utilized this method to develop thin films that can deliver proteins and biologic drugs such as growth factors with highly preserved activity from surfaces with sustained release periods of several days; manipulation of the 2D composition of the thin films can lead to simultaneous or sequential release of different components, resulting in highly tunable multiagent delivery (MAD) nanolayered release systems for tissue engineering, biomedical devices, and wound healing applications. This approach can be adapted to the modification of nanoparticle surfaces to introduce mediated interactions with cells that lead to uptake of the nanoparticle, release of drugs in specific regions, and control of the intracellular trafficking of the nanoparticle. These polyelectrolyte nanolayer assemblies can be generated to increase the half-life of the particle in the bloodstream by preventing adsorption of proteins via hydrated outer layers, and they can also act as a sheddable “stealth” layer that prevents recognition of the particle as a foreign body by the body’s defense systems and act as a means of staged delivery. We have demonstrated the use of an RNA synthesis method known as rolling circle transcription (RCT) to produce RNAi at high rates for cellular delivery and to yield active siRNA in structured forms that yield significant doses in potent nanoparticles. Finally, new opportunities in nanoparticle delivery include the incorporation of RNAi, small molecule therapeutics, and/or molecular inhibitors in a sequential fashion that can lead to powerful synergistic anticancer activity. Recent new developments in the generation of nanoparticles capable of staged release of combination therapies and their promise will be addressed.

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