Dr. Jeffrey Actor
Dr. Jeffrey Actor

The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases has awarded Dr. Jeffrey Actor, professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, nearly $1.7 million for a two-year project to investigate use of Lactoferrin as a novel therapeutic to combat tuberculosis. The research is a collaborative project with Dr. Marian Kruzel, of PharmaReview Corporation, representing the second phase of a collaborative small business award (STTR).

Tuberculosis, caused by the intracellular bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis, infects roughly a third of the world’s population. Host immunity plays a major role in primary disease development, with formation of tight granuloma structures within the lung that limit dissemination of the bacilli during primary disease. These structures protect the host but also allow the organisms to escape destruction by the immune cells.

“The goal of our research is to evaluate a novel recombinant Lactoferrin for use as a preclinical research tool to alter the granuloma pathology,” Actor said. “We plan to use Lactoferrin to limit development of tuberculosis lung disease, thus essentially establishing a ‘firebreak’ to slow transmission of organisms between individuals.” Dr. Shen-An Hwang, assistant professor in Pathology, is also an active investigator on the grant. The team has collaborated closely with Dr. Chinnaswamy Jagannath, Dr. Robert L. Hunter, and Dr. Arshad Khan for nearly two decades on tuberculosis research. Dr. Hunter is the Distinguished Chair in Molecular Pathology and chairman of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

Actor has published over 100 peer-reviewed publications in leading journals on mechanisms of immunity to pathogenic infections. He has authored two immunology textbooks, written numerous book chapters, and currently serves on multiple editorial boards for high impact journals (Frontiers in Immunology; International Immunopharmacology; Genes & Immunity).

Research is supported by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases grant number (2R42-AI117990-02).