University of Saskatchewan

April 23, 2014   

Immunologist honoured with U of S Distinguished Researcher Award

Dr. John Gordon
May 25, 2011

University of Saskatchewan health researcher and director of the Canadian Centre for Health and Safety in Agriculture John Gordon is the recipient of the 2011 Distinguished Researcher Award to be presented at the June 1 convocation. Gordon is a faculty member in the Department of Medicine where he has recently been appointed director of research.

“John is internationally recognized as a major force in immunology,” said U of S Vice-President Research Karen Chad. “His work on inflammatory diseases and asthma exemplifies the groundbreaking U of S research that has real impact on people’s lives and their health. I’m so pleased our university community has chosen to honour him in this way.”

An expert in immune regulation and airway disease in the Department of Medicine, Gordon has developed a new drug to treat inflammatory illnesses, including bacterial lung infections and inflammation associated with conditions such as cystic fibrosis pneumonia.

The drug, G31P, is patented by the U of S and has proven highly effective in targeting inflammatory responses. G31P targets the proteins that activate a specific group of white blood cells known as neutrophils, reducing inflammation while allowing other immune system cells that are critical to the patient’s health to function normally. Interestingly, these same target proteins are also critical growth factors for many forms of cancer, such that G31P has been highly effective in blocking tumour progression in animal models of prostate and melanoma cancer, for example.

In an independent line of investigation relating to cell-based therapies for immune-mediated disease, Gordon has also recently developed and established proof of principle in experimental animals for new protocols that reverse the course of established immunologic diseases such as asthma.

“Under these protocols, animals treated for asthma progressively lose their sensitivity to allergens over a number of weeks following treatment, until they no longer suffer from the lung constriction and inflammation that characterizes asthma,” he said. “And we have shown in the test tube that this approach is effective in reversing the allergic reactivity of immune cells from asthmatic individuals. It might also be expected to extend to the treatment of autoimmune diseases.”

In 2008 Gordon was elected as a member of the prestigious Collegium Internationale Allergologicum, an international group for the study of scientific and clinical problems in allergy and related branches of medicine and immunology. He was also recognized with the Saskatchewan Award of Innovation in 2007 and the Pfizer Animal Health Research Excellence Award in 2003.

Information about the Distinguished Researcher award and past recipients is available at: http://www.usask.ca/research/about/distinguished_research_award.php

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For more information, contact:

Michael Robin
U of S Research Communications
(306) 966-1425

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