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The New Frontier in Drug Discovery


Christopher C.W. Hughes, Ph.D.

Chair and Professor
Molecular Biology and Biochemistry
University of California, Irvine

Wednesday, February 20, 2019 • 4:00 PM
Crystal Cove Auditorium, UC Irvine Student Center

Reception to follow the lecture at 5:00 PM

About the Lecture
Identifying effective new medicines is time-consuming and expensive. Ideally, drugs are highly specific, having great efficacy and minimal toxicity, however this is rarely the case. Current drug pipelines follow very similar trajectories: simple cell-based assays reveal promising compounds that are then tested in mice, and, if these studies are successful, lead agents progress into first-in-man studies, and finally full-scale clinical trials. Unfortunately, fewer than 1 in 7 drugs entering clinical trials make it to market. Two major problems with this pipeline can be identified: the cell-based assays are too simple, not reproducing the complexity of cells in the body; and mice are not men – mouse metabolism and drug sensitivities are often very different to our own.

Body-on-a-Chip technology aims to solve these problems. Three-dimensional “mini-organs” can be created in the lab that better model how cells behave in the body, and human cells can be used to capture human-specific responses. Numerous studies have now shown that these systems can perform better in modeling how drugs behave in people than both traditional cell-based assays and mouse testing. Moving from the lab to the clinic, we are now taking tumors from cancer patients and growing them in these platforms. Our long-term goal is to use this technology to identify the optimal combination of drugs to treat each individual patient – truly personalized medicine. Dr. Hughes is a world leader in the field of microphysiological systems (body-on-a-chip) technology and will describe how these revolutionary models are set to change how drugs are discovered, tested and prescribed.

Reservations are requested.
Refreshments will be served at the reception
following the lecture.

The event is open to the public and the UCI campus community.
Parking is available for $10 per vehicle at the UCI Student Center Parking Structure.


February 20, 2019
4:00 PM - 5:00 PM


Crystal Cove Auditorium, UC Irvine Student Center
A311 Student Center
Irvine, CA 92697 United States


School of Biological Sciences

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