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Years of Amyloidosis Research Converges to Benefit Patients

healingAmyloidosis research led by Jonathan Wall, PhD, Director, Amyloidosis and Cancer Theranostics Research, has resulted in the publication of a paper in a prestigious scientific journal and two patents covering the same work. Dr. Wall’s research team includes Stephen Kennel, PhD, Emily Martin, PhD, Tina Richey, Alan Stuckey, Sallie Macy, Craig Wooliver, Steve Foster, and Angela Williams.

Amyloidosis is a rare, often fatal disease that people get when amyloid, a complex mix of protein fibers and sugars, builds up in the heart, kidneys, nerves and other organs, interfering with normal functioning.

Many years ago, Dr. Alan Solomon with Dr. Wall and other members of the amyloid research program generated an antibody, called 11-1F4, that has been effective in treating some patients with the most common form of systemic amyloid disease, known as light chain-associated amyloidosis, or AL. More recently, Dr. Wall’s team has been researching ways to make the antibody more useful for patients with many other forms of amyloidosis.

They developed an amyloid binding peptide, p5+14, that, when fused to a smaller protein known to bind with the 11-1F4 antibody, activates the body's natural immune response to disease.

Dr. Wall has received two new patents associated with p5+14, adding to the 11 patents he has already earned related to the diagnosis and treatment of amyloidosis.

Dr. Wall reinforces that one of the keys to the success of his research is a community effort supported within the medical center as well as through local organizations including Gerdau, a local steel manufacturer that hosts a golf tournament to raise money for amyloidosis research; Siemens Healthineers, who provides advanced imaging technology; and the Amyloidosis Foundation.

The latest amyloidosis research demonstrating the efficacy with which the combination of p5+14 and the 11-1F4 antibody can bind diverse forms of amyloid was recently published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America (PNAS). This peer-reviewed scientific journal carries an impact factor of 10. The impact factor is a standard metric of the frequency with which the average article in a journal is cited in a particular year, and only approximately 2% of journals carry an impact factor of 10 or more.

Paul J. Hauptman, MD, Dean of the UT Graduate School of Medicine, said, “This speaks highly of the caliber of research being conducted at the UT Graduate School of Medicine and the significance it may have for the health care community. Congratulations to Director Jonathan Wall, PhD, and his team.”

Pictured L-R: Tina Richey, Dr. Stephen Kennel, Dr. Emily Martin, Dr. Jonathan Wall, Sallie Macy, Steve Foster, Angela Williams, and Alan Stuckey

Posted December 6, 2018

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