CTDDR-2019: The 7th Mahakumbh of Drug Research

The CSIR-Central Drug Research Institute organized the mega event on drug research dedicated to Malaria, Leishmania, Multi-drug Resistance and Natural Product Chemistry for Drug Discovery


Lucknow: The Central Drug Research Institute, Lucknow organized the 7th International Symposium on Current Trends in Drug Discovery Research from 20th to 23rd February, 2019. The Director of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research’s institute, Prof Tapas Kundu, in his welcome address, briefed about the importance of this major event in drug discovery and development.

On the first day Prof. Daniel E. Goldberg from Washington University-St. Louis, USA, delivered the inaugural talk on therapeutic approaches targeting malaria Plasmepsins. He said, Malaria is a devastating parasitic disease affecting half of the world’s population. The rapid emergence of resistance against new antimalarial drugs, including artemisininbased therapies, has made the development of drugs with novel mechanisms of action extremely urgent. Proteases are enzymes proven to be well suited for targetbased drug development due to our knowledge of their enzymatic mechanisms and active site structures. Malaria parasite plasmepsins are not just old degradative enzymes they are deemed potential targets for novel antimalarial drug design. 

Later, in a special session on “Concept to Point-of-Care”, speakers from the academia and pharmaceutical industry shared their research findings to the participants.  Dr Arjuna Surya from Curadev Pharma India talked about his discovery of treatment of solid tumors with class STING agonists. Dr Arshad Siddiqui from Paraza Pharma, Canada told about the discovery of novel Kinesin Spindle Protein (KSP) inhibitors. Dr Bharat Lagu from Mitobridge, Inc. Cambridge, USA share his view on impacting multiple facets of drug discovery and development through designing the Drugs and Dr Yu-Kyoung Oh from College of Pharmacy, Seoul National University, Seoul, Republic of Korea talked about how tumor microenvironment-responsive delivery of chemicals and adjuvants for next generation nanomedicine products affects the activation of chemo/immunotherapy in tumor microenvironment.

The session was very informative and provoked the new thinking in drug discovery and development.

On second day of CTDDR-2019, first session was dedicated to “Targeted Drug Discovery and Design for Malaria”. In his plenary lecture, Prof. Kiaran Kirk from Australian National University, Canberra, Australia discussed his findings and said Membrane transport proteins acts as antimalarial drug targets. He further explained how membrane transport proteins would appear to be highly represented amongst the targets of antimalarials identified in phenotypic screens.

Dr. Akhil B. Vaidya from Drexel University College of Medicine, Philadelphia, USA discussed the consequences of disrupting Na+ and lipid homeostasis by new antimalarial drugs. He said several compounds that disrupt Na+ homeostasis in malaria parasites have been found to have the ability to very rapidly clear blood stage parasites.

Dr Jeremy N. Burrows, Head of Drug Discovery, Medicines for Malaria Venture, Geneva, Switzerland summarise the work of Medicines for Malaria Venture (MMV) and its mission to reduce the burden of malaria in disease-endemic countries by discovering, developing and facilitating delivery of new, effective and affordable antimalarial drugs in collaboration with international partners and discussed about drug discovery to control and eradicate malaria.

There is an urgent need for affordable, short-course oral drugs for Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL): Dr Thompson

On second day of CTDDR-2019, the second session was dedicated to “Problems of Leishmania Therapeutics and New Approaches” Dr. Andrew M. Thompson from University of Auckland, New Zealand said that there are few available treatment options for VL, and most of them suffer from various drawbacks so there is an urgent need for affordable, short-course oral drugs with enhanced safety and efficacy for treatment of Visceral Leishmaniasis. He shared his latest finding about a new clinical candidate drug for visceral leishmaniasis i.e. DNDI-0690. He informed, this new candidate drug (DNDI-0690) was assessed in a 14-day rat toxicity study, and now selected for advanced development.

Dr. Joachim Clos from Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Germany shared his views with participants about use of systems biology in drug development for Leishmania. While, Dr. Susanta Kar from CSIR-CDRI, Lucknow discussed host immune response by epigenetic reprogramming of macrophage M1/M2 polarization in Leishmania parasite.

Mtb is currently the greatest single cause of death from infectious disease: Prof. David G. Russell

Third session was dedicated to “Countering Multi-drug Resistance in Bacterial Infections.” Prof. David G. Russell from Cornell University, USA talked about identification of novel host-dependent anti-bacterials for treatment of Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb). He said Mtb is currently the greatest single cause of death from infectious disease. Recent data indicate that immune-dependent, nutritional restriction of bacterial growth may represent the more significant means of limiting disease progression, and a new approach to therapeutic control.  

Dr Amit Misra from CSIR-CDRI, Lucknow discussed about “Inhaled drugs for pulmonary tuberculosis” He said, “if tuberculosis (TB) is primarily a disease of the lungs, patients of pulmonary TB should inhale medicines rather than swallow them”. He informed the participants about his work regarding development of dry powder inhalations containing drug combinations for addressing both drug sensitive (DS) and drug resistant (MDR) TB.

Extreme environments such as deep or cold oceans and arid environments give rise to unique microbial biodiversity producing unique bioactive natural products: Prof Jaspars

Fourth session was dedicated to Natural Product Chemistry for Drug Discovery. Prof. Marcel Jaspars from Univ. of Aberdeen, UK shared his findings about Discovering, modifying and utilising natural products from extremophiles. He said Extreme environments such as deep or cold oceans and arid environments give rise to unique microbial biodiversity producing unique bioactive natural products for example compounds like lasso peptides is isolated from the Atacama Desert, the driest place on earth.

Dr. Marc Litaudon from Institut de Chimie des Substances Naturelles, France discussed, Molecular networking as a powerful tool to face the challenge of finding new leads in the drug discovery process. Later, Poster sessions and Flash-talks were also organized. The sessions were very informative and brain-storming.

A musical Concert by Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt

In evening a concert by Padma Bhushan, and Grammy awardee, Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt and his team was organized for the delegates to know the research contribution in music also by Pt Bhatt.