New SAB Members Bring Expertise in the Fields of Radiation Biology and Tumor Hypoxia
CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va., Feb. 24, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Diffusion Pharmaceuticals Inc.(NASDAQ: DFFN) (“Diffusion” or the “Company”), a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapies that enhance the body’s ability to deliver oxygen to areas where it is needed most, today announced a significant expansion of its Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) to include five prominent radiation and medical oncologists to help guide its recently announced clinical program aimed at evaluating the Company’s lead product candidate, trans sodium crocetinate (TSC), as an adjunctive treatment for hypoxic solid tumors.
Listed in alphabetical order, the newly appointed members of the Scientific Advisory Board are: Mitesh J. Borad, M.D., Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science; Robert A. Lustig, M.D., Professor of Clinical Radiation Oncology and Director of Clinical Operations, Radiation Oncology at Penn Medicine; Chad Tang, M.D., Assistant Professor, Department of Radiation Oncology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; Cullen M. Taniguchi, MD, Associate Professor, Department of GI Radiation Oncology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; and, Timothy Yap, MBBS, PhD, FRCP, Associate Professor, Departments of Investigational Cancer Therapeutics and Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Dr. Robert Lustig has been selected to head the Oncology branch of the SAB.
These new appointments augment the distinguished Critical Care clinician/scientists currently serving on the SAB: Dr. Lakhmir Chawla, Dr. Michael Harper, Dr. Michael Mohning, and Dr. Michael Roshon.
Chris Galloway, M.D., Chief Medical Officer of Diffusion Pharmaceuticals, commented, “We are honored to welcome these distinguished and highly experienced clinician/scientists to the Diffusion Scientific Advisory Board. We believe each advisor contributes to our patient centric mission by offering expansive patient care expertise along with deep translational research experience in radiation biology and tumor hypoxia. Up to 90 % of solid tumors are hypoxic, which can contribute to multi-modal treatment resistance, increased risk of metastasis, and decreased survival. The fields of tumor hypoxia imaging and diagnostics are advancing quickly along with the ability to personalize treatment regimens to enhance radio/chemo/immuno-therapy in hypoxic areas. At Diffusion, we are passionate about the potential of TSC to enhance oxygenation in solid tumors and serve as an adjunct to enhance standard of care treatments and improve patient outcomes across multiple types of solid tumors.”
New SAB Member Bios:
Mitesh J. Borad, M.D., is currently a Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and Science. He also serves as the Director of the GI Cancer Cellular, Gene and Virus Therapy lab, Director of the Liver and Biliary Cancer Research Program and Co-Director, Precision Cancer Therapeutics Program at the Center for Individualized Medicine at Mayo Clinic. Dr. Borad concurrently serves on the National Cancer Institute’s Hepatobiliary Task Force, an appointment he has held since 2011. Prior to joining Mayo Clinic, he spent three years as a Drug Development Scholar/Genomics Medicine Scholar at the Translational Genomic Research Institute, where he worked closely with world-renowned experts, including Dr. Daniel D. Von Hoff.
Dr. Borad obtained his Internal Medicine training at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and completed his Medical Oncology Fellowship at Tulane University School of Medicine. Dr. Borad holds a Certification in Medical Oncology from the American Board of Internal Medicine and is a member of more than 20 professional organizations and committees, including presently being seated as Chairman of the International Cholangiocarcinoma Research Network.
Robert Lustig, M.D., is a Professor of Clinical Radiation Oncology and Director of Clinical Operations in the Department of Radiation Oncology at Penn Medicine in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He is affiliated with multiple hospitals in the Philadelphia area, including Pennsylvania Hospital and Penn Presbyterian Hospital. Dr. Lustig received his medical degree from Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University and then completed a residency in radiation oncology at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia. He has been in practice for more than 20 years and specializes in the treatment of adult and pediatric brain tumors.
Chad Tang, M.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Radiation Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He holds joint appointments in the departments of investigational cancer therapeutics (phase I program) and translational molecular pathology. Dr. Tang is a board-certified radiation oncologist who received his MD from Stanford University and underwent residency training in radiation oncology at MD Anderson Cancer Center. His research interests are in the treatment of metastatic patients with radiation and the combination of radiation and investigational pharmaceutics. He is the principal investigator on numerous clinical trials investigating radiation for metastatic disease all with emphases on translational correlatives.
Cullen Taniguchi, M.D., Ph.D., is an Associate Professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, with a joint appointment in Radiation Oncology and Experimental Radiation Oncology. Dr. Taniguchi is a physician scientist specializing in gastrointestinal malignancies, with a clinical and research focus on pancreatic cancer. His laboratory studies hypoxia biology in the context of the tumor microenvironment and regenerative medicine to improve the therapeutic ratio of therapies for pancreatic cancer. For instance, the Taniguchi laboratory discovered that a key regulatory enzyme of hypoxia, the EGLN prolyl hydroxylases can reduce radiation toxicity sufficiently to enable higher, and potentially ablative doses of radiation to tumors when surgery is not possible. Dr. Taniguchi is the lead PI of a multicenter Phase I/II trial that tested this concept in the clinic (NCT03340974), using a superoxide dismutase mimetic, GC4419, which closed after meeting its endpoints in May 2020. Together, these studies rely on knowledge of both normal tissue niches and tumor biology to develop and translate novel pancreatic cancer therapeutics.
Timothy Yap, MBBS, Ph.D., FRCP, is an Associate Professor in the Departments for Investigational Cancer Therapeutics and Thoracic/Head and Neck Medical Oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. He is also the Medical Director of the Institute for Applied Cancer Science, a drug discovery biopharmaceutical unit where drug discovery and clinical translation are seamlessly integrated. He is also an Associate Director of Translational Research at the Institute for Personalized Cancer Therapy, an integrated research and clinical trials program. Previously, Dr. Yap was a Consultant Medical Oncologist at The Royal Marsden Hospital in London, UK and National Institute for Health Research BRC Clinician Scientist at The Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK.
Dr. Yap´s primary research focuses on development of targeted agents and their acceleration through biomarker-driven clinical trials. His main interests include targeting of the DNA damage response as well as the development of novel immunotherapeutics, and past and current he is and/or has been a Principal Investigator for multiple clinical trials evaluating novel strategies for targeting the DNA damage response in cancer. Dr. Yap obtained his B.Sc. degree in Immunology and Infectious Diseases at Imperial College London, UK, and subsequently went on to attain his medical degree from Imperial College London, UK. He has a Ph.D. in Molecular Pharmacology from the Division of Cancer Therapeutics at the Institute of Cancer Research, London, UK.
About Diffusion Pharmaceuticals Inc.
Diffusion Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapies that enhance the body’s ability to deliver oxygen to areas where it is needed most. Diffusion’s lead product candidate, TSC, is being developed to enhance the diffusion of oxygen to tissues with low oxygen levels, also known as hypoxia, a serious complication of many of medicine’s most intractable and difficult-to-treat conditions, including hypoxic solid tumors. In November 2021, based on the preclinical and clinical data accumulated to date and the significant unmet medical need, Diffusion announced that its near-term focus will be the design and execution of a clinical program to support the use of intravenously administered TSC as an adjunctive treatment for hypoxic solid tumors. For more information, please visit us at www.diffusionpharma.com.