Accelerating Breakthrough Discoveries into Medicines

Nunzio Bottini, MD, PhD

Dr. Bottini is working to develop a drug for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), one of the most common rheumatologic diseases.

Nunzio Bottini, MD, PhD is associate professor in the Division of Cellular Biology of La Jolla Institute for Allergy and Immunology. He also holds an appointment as an associate professor of medicine and consulting physician in the Division of Rheumatology, Allergy and Immunology of the University of California San Diego.

Despite the availability of several therapies for RA that work by suppressing the immune system, a large number of patients fail to achieve disease remission and continue to suffer from joint swelling, functional limitations and long-term complications. Combining multiple drugs targeting the immune system is often difficult because excessive suppression of the immune system increases the risk of infections.

The Bottini Lab is addressing this critical problem by developing a drug to suppress non-immune cells that are local to the joint, called synoviocytes, which become activated during RA and contribute to joint inflammation and destruction.

They aim to develop a drug that can be combined with the current RA therapies that suppress the immune system without increasing the risk of infections. Their therapy targets a protein called PTPRS, which is present at high levels on the surface of synoviocytes in the joints of RA patients. In synoviocytes PTPRS is able to inhibit intracellular biochemical signals that promote joint inflammation and destruction.

Dr. Bottini and his team have found a way to activate PTPRS and have shown that treatment with their candidate drug reduces the ability of synoviocytes to destroy cartilage. Importantly, they have also shown that treatment of arthritic mice with our candidate drug decreases disease severity. With the support of Harrington Discovery Institute, they are further developing their candidate therapeutic drug toward the goal of clinical trials in humans.

Dr. Bottini received his M.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Rome. He received postdoctoral research training in biochemistry and signal transduction at the Sanford-Burnham-Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla, CA, and completed a clinical fellowship in Rheumatology at the University of California San Diego. Dr. Bottini joined the La Jolla Institute in 2009 from the USC Keck School of Medicine in Los Angeles, where he was an Assistant Professor in the Institute for Genetic Medicine. Previously, he served as an Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of Rome in Italy.

Dates to Know

April 5, 2017
Letter of Intent Deadline

May 31, 2017
Full Application Deadline (For those invited)

December 2017
Awardees Notified

Harrington Project

The Harrington Discovery Institute is the nonprofit arm of the Harrington Project for Discovery & Development, an international initiative supporting breakthrough research by physician-scientists. The Project is a new and powerful approach to address some of the challenges hindering advancement of medicine today.

The Harrington Grant is an important part of the overall pharmaceutical research initiative created by The Harrington Project.

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