Gabriel Lopez-Berestein, M.D. has been one of the prominent leaders in the field and working on on development nanotherapeutics more than 30 years, leading to “bench-to-bedside” translation of over 20 compounds with several FDA-approved drugs. He was the first laboratory that conducted pharmacokinetic and clinical trials of liposomal-based drugs in the U.S. Beginning in the early 1980s, his lab began exploring the use of liposomal carriers for therapeutic applications and was the first group in the U.S. to study the pharmacokinetics, distribution and safety of liposomal carriers in cancer patients. This study was fundamental for further development of this innovative technology. Since that time, his laboratory developed – from bench to clinic – several antifungals and antitumor therapeutics, such as lipid-based Nystatin and Amphotericin B for fungal infections, the latter now marketed as ABELCET, and Annamycin, Aroplatin and Lipo–ATRA (ATRAGEN), among others, as anticancer therapeutics. It is worth noting that single-agent ATRAGEN can cure some patients with untreated acute promyelocytic leukemia without the use of chemotherapy.
More recently, his lab has focused on the development of tumor specific nanodelivery systems for the delivery of variety of therapeutic payloads (i.e, siRNA, peptides, and potentially small molecules and chemotherapy). Over the last six years, his lab has also developed an understanding of several pathophysiologic mechanisms in ovarian cancer leading to the development of novel targets and, subsequently, the translational application of siRNA to animal models using nanoparticle carriers.
Cristian Rodriguez-Aguayo, Ph.D.
Instructor, RFA, Experimental Therapeutics Department
Cristian Rodriguez-Aguayo, BS, MS, Ph.D. is an Instructor, RFA, Experimental Therapeutics Department at MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA. He received his BS. degree in Biopharmacology. Universidad Autónoma de Nayarit, Tepic, Nayarit, México, and after he obtained M.S. in Morphology, Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León (UANL), Monterrey, Nuevo León, México. After getting his M.S., Rodriguez-Aguayo completed his Ph.D. in Infectomics and Molecular Pathogenesis, Centro de Investigación y Estudios Avanzados (CINVESTAV) del Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN), Mexico D.F., Mexico and post doc training in the Experimental Therapeutics Department at MD Anderson. Rodriguez’s research focuses on in three main areas: 1) Development of new strategies for systemic in vivo Non-Coding-RNA delivery using biocompatible nanoparticles; 2) Chemo-resistance mechanism on ovarian cancer growth and progression; and 3) Development of novel anti-RBP’s and Non-Coding-RNAs therapeutic approaches. His main goal is to continue a career in translational cancer research to identify effective therapeutic targets for development of more effective therapeutic strategies. His current research focuses on the understanding of the functional basis and biological mechanism by RBPs and non-coding RNAs promote cancer growth and tumor progression.
Paola Amero, Ph.D.
Amero is an Instructor in Dr Lopez-Berestein’s laboratory. She received her Ph.D. in Pharmacology Science from University of Naples, Italy. In July 2013, she started to work at Institute Experimental Endocrinology and Oncology, National Research Council of Naples, Italy, under supervisor of Vittorio de Franciscis, Ph.D., in Merit RBNE08YFN3 program. The main focus of her research was the development of microRNAs and aptamers as potential therapeutic tools in cancer. Amero joined Lopez-Berestein’s lab in 2015 as a postdoctoral fellow. Her main project focused on the functional characterization of anti-Axl aptamers in ovarian cancer.