Seminar – Barry R. O’Keefe, Ph.D.
Event Date & TimeOctober 21, 2020 at 12 Noon
DEPARTMENT OF PHARMACOLOGY
Wednesday, October 21, 2020
12:00pm – Virtual Presentation
Director, Molecular Targets Program
Center for Cancer Research
Chief, Natural Products Branch, Developmental
Division of Cancer Treatment and Diagnosis
National Cancer Institute
The NCI Program for Natural Products Discovery: A Resource for Novel Bioactive Natural Products Against All Disease States
Natural products have a proven track record in use as anti-cancer and anti-infective agents. As of 2019 natural products (NP) and their derivatives represented ~50% of small molecule-based anti-cancer and anti-microbial drugs. The use of NP samples for screening outside of those two areas has, however, not been actively researched with few screens for targets in neurological, metabolic and immune functions. This is, in part, because accessing the potential of NP in high-throughput screening (HTS) campaigns has been challenging due to the complexity of the crude NP extracts, the time necessary for follow-up isolation efforts, and indefinite capabilities for large-scale resupply. The result is that NP-based libraries are significantly underrepresented in most recent large-scale HTS programs. The US National Cancer Institute’s Natural Product Extract Repository is one of the world’s largest, most diverse collections of NP containing >230,000 unique extracts. To address the challenges in screening NP we have initiated the NCI Program for Natural Product Discovery which has developed an automated, high-throughput robotics platform capable of generating a library of >1,000,000 partially purified NP samples for screening which is being supplied to the worldwide research community for free. In addition, automated secondary purification and structure elucidation platforms have been created that significantly decrease costs and timelines. This presentation will discuss the reasons for, challenges to, and mechanisms by which to increase the pace and efficiency of NP-based drug discovery.