PI: Dr. Jim Olson
Location: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Website: http://research.fhcrc.org/olson/en.html

Design of Brain Penetrating Peptides

In 2007, the Olson Lab reported that a scorpion-derived peptide could selectively deliver fluorescent molecules specifically to cancer cells compared to adjacent normal tissue.  This bioconjugate, known as Tumor Paint, illuminated brain, breast, colon, prostate, skin, and other cancers in preclinical studies and is now in human clinical trials (www.blazebioscience.com).  Contrary to expected results, the peptide crosses the blood brain barrier.  We have since created a unique mammalian expression system that increased production of optides (optimized peptides) from dozens per year to thousands per month.  We seek post-doctoral fellows interested in the following areas of interest: 1) Identifying the features of knottins or optides that foster cell penetration or blood brain barrier penetration.  Using the information to engineer peptide libraries with desired biodistribution properties. 2) Engineering penetrating peptide-drug conjugates to deliver chemotherapy directly to cancer cells.  Clinical areas of interest: brain tumors, breast cancer, prostate cancer, uterine cancer, sarcoma, head and neck cancer, and colon cancer.