May 08, 2013 08:00 AM Eastern Daylight Time
BERKELEY, Calif. -- Aduro BioTech, Inc. announces that UC Berkeley Professor Daniel A. Portnoy has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), one of the highest honors given to a scientist in the United States. He is a member of Aduro’s Scientific Advisory Board and a long-time collaborator.
Over the past 25 years, Professor Portnoy and colleagues have made fundamental discoveries that describe the pathogenesis of Listeria monocytogenes and how this bacterium engages the immune response. Collectively, this body of work provides the scientific rationale and insight for the vaccine and immunotherapy platforms that are being developed by Aduro. One of the earlier discoveries was to understand the mechanism by whichListeria spreads from cell to cell and avoids the humoral (antibody) arm of the immune system. This knowledge provided insight for both the development of vaccine strains and the understanding of how Listeria activates the cellular (“T cell”) arm of the immune response. Aduro has applied this and additional research to the company’s Listeria vaccine platform to make it safe for human use while retaining the ability to induce a potent immune response.
More recently, Professor Portnoy and colleagues have discovered that Listeria secretes CDNs (cyclic dinucleotides) into the cytosol of host immune cells. CDNs bind to STING (STimulator of INterferon Genes) and activate innate immunity, which in turn leads to a potent and specific immune response. Based on this mechanism of action, Aduro is developing vaccines and immunotherapies for cancer and infectious diseases that utilize particular STING-activating CDNs.
“On behalf of Aduro, I would like to congratulate Dan,” said Thomas W. Dubensky, Jr., Ph.D., chief scientific officer at Aduro. “He has made numerous contributions to the field and his election to the National Academy of Sciences is extremely well deserved. He is also a great friend and colleague to the company and we look forward to many more years of productive collaboration.”
Professor Portnoy will be inducted into the academy next April during its 149th annual meeting in Washington, D.C.
There are currently 2,179 active NAS members. The academy is a private, nonprofit honorific society of distinguished scholars engaged in scientific and engineering research, dedicated to the furthering of science and technology and to their use for the general welfare. Established in 1863, it has served to “investigate, examine, experiment and report upon any subject of science or art” whenever called upon to do so by any department of the government.
About Aduro BioTech, Inc.
Aduro BioTech, Inc. is a clinical-stage immunotherapy company located in Berkeley, California. The company is currently conducting a randomized, controlled Phase 2 clinical trial in patients with metastatic pancreatic cancer and a Phase 1B trial in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma. The company’s pipeline also includes preclinical programs in glioblastoma, prostate cancer, melanoma, malaria, HBV and tularemia.
Aduro BioTech, Inc.
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