6th Euro Virology Congress and Expo
Faculty of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB, Canada
Title: Toward Potent Immunotherapy Drugs: Rational Design of Inhibitors of the Immune Checkpoints Proteins
Biography: Khaled Barakat
Immune checkpoints constitute a distinctive set of proteins that belong to the B7 family. The engagement of these transmembrane receptors with their ligands provides critical signals to inhibit T-cell activation and promote for immune tolerance. Tumor and infected cells can hide from the immune system by overexpressing these proteins leading to T-cell exhaustion. Blocking these interactions emerged as a ’game changing’ approach in anticancer and antiviral immunotherapy. Current immune checkpoints blockers are limited to antibodies and possess a unique mode of action; they reactivate exhausted T cells, allowing them to proliferate and recognize and kill infected and tumor cells. Despite their outstanding success the ultimate therapeutic target or combination of targets from these proteins is still to be determined. They are highly limited by their substantial cost and severe side effects. Our team at the University of Alberta has been focused on developing less expensive and more controlled inhibitors for the immune checkpoints. Our approach combines state-of-the-art computational modeling techniques with cutting-edge experimental technologies to design and develop small molecule inhibitors for these proteins. During this talk, an overview about our program will be presented with updates on our recent progress toward this goal.