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2017 Dr. Joseph Gilbert Research Contribution of the Year Award: Dr. Gediminas Cepinskas

Presented at the 2017 Lawson Impact Awards this past spring, Dr. Gediminas (Gedas) Cepinskas is the recipient of the 2017 Joseph Gilbert Research Contribution of the Year Award.

Dr. Gediminas Cepinskas

Dr. Cepinskas is director of the Centre for Critical Illness Research at Lawson. He is recognized for his publication, “Carbon monoxide-releasing molecule 3 inhibits myeloperoxidase (MPO) and protects against MPO-induced vascular endothelial cell activation/dysfunction,” published in Free Radical Biology and Medicine in 2014.

Dr. Cepinskas is one of few scientists worldwide studying carbon monoxide-releasing molecules (CORMs) to treat inflammatory conditions. While carbon monoxide is commonly known as a dangerous, it may have therapeutic potential for chronic inflammation.

“Most therapies are driven against inhibiting a very specific, single mediator of inflammation. Carbon monoxide, on the other hand, is a very broad spectrum inhibitor of multiple inflammatory pathways,” says Dr. Cepinskas. “Therefore, it has an advantage in potentially being used to treat a broad spectrum of inflammatory responses.”

This publication describes for the first time how carbon monoxide protects against leukocyte-induced tissue injury. It describes the mechanism by which CORMs can suppress leukocyte myeloperoxidase (MPO). MPO is a unique enzyme that can produce overwhelming oxidants that can contribute to the initiation of inflammatory diseases or conditions like sepsis, organ ischemia injury, rheumatoid arthritis and more. This study has identified the mechanism which can be targeted for therapeutic interventions by employing carbon monoxide-based therapies.

The study is the first to discover a specific carbon monoxide-releasing molecule called CORM-3 as an inhibitor for MPO activity, showing its potential in managing acute and chronic inflammatory disorders to prevent tissue damage.

This work has resulted in two patents filed through WORLDiscoveries®, the business development office for Lawson Health Research Institute, Western University and Robarts Research Institute, for the therapeutic application of CORM-3. This includes a patent for the treatment of compartment syndrome.

“Dr. Cepinskas is a thought-leader and he comes with a new paradigm,” says Dr. Abdel-Rahman Lawendy, a Lawson scientist and orthopaedic surgeon at London Health Sciences Centre. “He’s been working diligently for decades and is an expert in what he does.”

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