Sunday, 12 July 2020

News from NGSMIPS | International Virtual Conference on Opportunities and Challenges in Preclinical Drug Discovery

Drug development is a years-to-decades long complex and expensive process, entrenched with a high degree of uncertainty. There is nearly always a moment of anxiety at every phase of development, whether the drug would actually stand the stringent tests & evaluations and pull off the final nod of approval at all. Identifying a safe, potent, and efficacious drug involves thorough preclinical testing, which evaluates aspects of pharmacodynamics, pharmacokinetics, and toxicology in vitro and in vivo studies.

The long development pipeline incurs huge costs and intricate challenges. To realize the unmet medical needs and perceived commercial aspects, pharmaceutical companies and stakeholders have to find ways to improve the efficiency of drugs, adopting the severely stringent phased path of Preclinical Research and Development. 

Based on this scheme of thought, NGSMIPS made an attempt to organize a one-day International Virtual Conference on Preclinical Drug Discovery on 4th July 2020 with the objective of providing a good platform, to improve the knowledge & skills of the participants, through the various research experience and presentations by erudite veterans in the field.

Prof. (Dr) Satheesh Kumar Bhandary, Vice-Chancellor, Nitte DU gave the opening remarks and Prof. (Dr) CS Shastry, Convener delivered the welcome address. The scientific sessions began with a presentation by one of the eminent scientists in the field of Drug discovery, Dr. Noel J De Souza, Consultant, Independent Pharma Drug Discovery & Development, Inventor of FORSKOLIN and ALVOCIDIB. Dr. Noel in his talk titled ‘A Perspective on India Led Approaches in Drug Discovery’ shared his research experience in Sun Pharmaceuticals Ltd. Research Centre & Wockhardt Ltd. Research Centre where he served as Director R&D. He explained the research process of various molecules and also shared the lab-to-life journey of inventing Forskolin & Alvocidib.

The second lecture was delivered by Dr. Srini V. Kaveri, Director INSERM Paris.   Dr. Srini’s lecture was apt to the current times. He dealt with the topic, ‘Immune Response to Corona Virus: Immunotherapeutic Options’. He focused majorly on the therapeutic strategies against Covid-19 and shed light on the importance of vaccination and how safety & efficacy must be maintained. He said presently there were 120 vaccine candidates in labs and 8 of them have reached clinical trials. He gave an insight on IVIG in autoimmunity and ended his session with the tagline- corona virus can be controlled and will be controlled. 

The third lecture was by Dr. Dave Lewis, Higher Education Academy, National Teaching Fellow School of Biomedical Sciences, Faculty of Biological Sciences, University of Leeds, UK. His lecture was titled ‘Can we believe data from Preclinical drug discovery studies: Impact of animal Welfare on the reproducibility and reliability of data’. He discussed about various animal models in preclinical research, animal welfare aspect, the role of enrichments on the data, and how it influences the overall result and the extent of reliability. Dr. Dave briefly discussed how we could have better data with special emphasis on the care and well being of animals.
The fourth lecture was delivered by Dr. SP Muthukumar, Sr. Principal Scientist, CSIR-CFTRI, Mysuru on ‘Next Generation animal models for Pre Clinical Research’.  He explained various models as alternatives to animals like zebrafish, C.elegans, Drosophila, etc. The most important and interesting models in his talk were Micro dosing, microchips, organ chips, and human chip.  He affirmed that these models would be the future of preclinical research.
The last lecture was delivered by Dr. Asfar Azmi, Director, Pancreas Cancer Research Initiative, Karmanos Cancer Institute, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Detroit, USA on the topic ‘Pre-clinical Assessment and Clinical Validation of Nuclear Export Inhibitors in Cancer’. He dealt with the detailed role of nuclear export inhibitors in cancer and its progression with findings of his own research particularly in pancreatic cancer models at Wayne State School of Medicine.

About 1600 participants registered for this conference, Ms. Nathasha Naval Aggarwal conducted the proceedings and Dr. Vijay Kumar, Coordinator of the conference delivered the vote of thanks.

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