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CISAC Presents: A New Paradigm for Engaging the War on Infectious Diseases

Virus ModelingThe Center for International Security and Cooperation (CISAC) will be hosting a Science Seminar this month entitled “A New Paradigm for Engaging the War on Infectious Diseases.” The featured speaker is Dr. Jon C. Mirsalis, Managing Director of the Biosciences Division and Executive Director of Preclinical Development at SRI International in Menlo Park, CA.

The event will be held April 29, 2013 at Stanford University and is open to the public. 

About the seminar: 

From the 1950s through the 1970s, the success of antibiotics and vaccines in controlling or eradicating infectious diseases worldwide resulted in decreased emphasis on development of ID therapeutics. The emergence in the past three decades of HIV, SARS, West Nile, avian flu, swine flu, Ebola, and the potential for bioterrorist attacks has reversed this trend and renewed interest in treatment and prophylaxis of infectious diseases. 

Because many diseases are prevalent primarily in developing nations, potential sales of bioterrorist pathogens are limited mainly to orders for government stockpiles (e.g., anthrax, smallpox, botulinum toxin), and the cost of anti-infective clinical trials is high, traditional large pharmaceutical companies have cut back R&D resources in this arena.

To combat this investment shortfall, a new paradigm has emerged where public-private partnerships between the NIH, World Health Organization, private foundations, academia, and non-profits, are beginning to function like pharmaceutical companies to advance the development of promising infectious disease drugs, even when there is little opportunity for profit. This talk will discuss the growing need for infectious disease therapeutics, present some new models for discovering and developing them, and provide examples of public-private partnerships that have advanced therapeutics for specific infectious diseases.

About the speaker:

Dr. Mirsalis is an internationally recognized expert in the development of drugs for infectious diseases. He manages two large programs for the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) for the development of promising therapeutics for the prevention and treatment of a broad range of infectious diseases including TB, malaria, influenza, polio, anthrax, plague, and Ebola.

Before joining SRI in 1981, Dr. Mirsalis was a postdoctoral fellow at the Chemical Industry Institute of Toxicology, where he developed the in vivo-in vitro hepatocyte DNA repair assay, which is now widely used as a screen for potential carcinogens by government and industry.

Further details are available at the CISAC website. Please visit the Global Biodefense Calendar to view additional events.

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