IL-33 As a Target for Asthma Presented at Allergy Drug Discovery Conf, San Diego, Jan 31-Feb 1

Monrovia, California (PressExposure) October 16, 2012 -- IL-33 as a target for asthma and COPD will be presented by Dirk Smith from Amgen and Roland Kolbeck from MedImmune at GTC's 2nd Allergy Research & Drug Discovery Conference taking place in San Diego, CA on January 31st - February 1st, 2013.

IL-33 is a cytokine that is abundantly expressed within mucosal tissues, including the lung. It is a potent activator of innate and adaptive immune cells, including eosinophils, mast cells, innate helper cells and Th2 cells. IL-33 may act as a locally-derived signal to initiate and sustain allergic and other forms of airway inflammation by amplifying the effector functions of these cells. Human data, including recent genetic findings, point to IL-33 and its receptor, ST2 as being significantly associated with asthma.

Experiments using gene deficient mice and single nucleotide polymorphisms in the IL-33 and ST2 genes associated with asthma suggest an important role of this cytokine in lung pathophysiology. IL-33 release can be induced by diverse stimuli, including house dust mite allergen, influenza virus, the fungus Alternaria alternata and cell necrosis. Originally the protease caspase-1, which is central to inflammasome-mediated processing and release of IL-1b and IL-18, has been implicated in IL-33 processing. However, previously evidence has accumulated suggesting that IL-33 processing is not a pre-requisite for biological activity.

Dirk Smith is a Principal Scientist in the Inflammation Research department at Amgen's Seattle campus. He is responsible for leading discovery projects from preclinical validation to clinical readiness and is currently leading Amgen's asthma discovery research team. Dirk has over 15 years experience in drug discovery and preclinical research. He joined Amgen in 2002 after spending 5 years at the FHCRC and then 8 years at Immunex Corporation, where he played a key role in cloning and elucidating the functions of several novel cytokines. He is a recognized expert in the field of cytokine biology, particularly the IL-1 family, and has extensive experience with biologic drug development. Dirk holds a B.S. in Microbiology and Molecular Biology from Washington State University and a M.S. in Genetics from the University of New Hampshire.

Roland Kolbeck, Ph.D., is Senior Director in Research, Department of Respiratory, Inflammation & Autoimmunity, MedImmune LLC. Dr. Kolbeck is leading a team of scientists responsible for the discovery of new targets and monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of respiratory and autoimmune disorders. Before, Dr. Kolbeck has held senior positions at Peptimmune, Inc. and Millennium Pharmaceuticals, Inc. focusing on the discovery of peptide-based therapies for the treatment of MS and small molecule inhibitors for the treatment of asthma, respectively. Dr. Kolbeck has experience in all aspects of Pharma and Biotech R & D, including drug discovery, translational sciences, preclinical and clinical development, and regulatory drug approval. Dr. Kolbeck has obtained his Ph.D. at the Max-Planck Institute for Neurobiology in Munich, Germany where he investigated the role of neurotrophic factors during nervous system development. Dr. Kolbeck received his Diploma at the University of Regensburg in molecular biology, microbiology, biochemistry and organic chemistry. He has published his scientific work in over 50 peer-reviewed articles.

This conference is also part of the 2nd Novel Immunotherapeutics Summit, which consists of this track and three other tracks:
11th Cytokines & Inflammation
5th Immunotherapeutic & Immunomontoring
Immunogenicity & Immunotoxicity

Over 200 leading industry and academic experts will present at this two-day summit. The 2nd Novel Immunotherapeutics Summit will offer an in-depth examination of the challenges involved in the dynamic and ever-changing field of drug discovery and development.

For more information, please visit

About GTC

GTC organizes conferences specifically for the biomedical and biopharmaceutical industries. Our goal is to facilitate the exchange of biopharmaceutical and biomedical intelligence between industry leaders, academic and government organizations, and the financial community.

GTC (Global Technology Community), LLC, is a privately held company founded in 2002.

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Press Release Submitted On: October 16, 2012 at 8:23 pm
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