Dr. Craig A. Dionne is cofounder of Genspera where they develop cutting edge cancer treatments. They use a powerful plant derived molecule (cytotoxin) that works directly on tumors. He has over 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry and was responsible for oncology and neurobiology drug discovery programs. His research has led to six issued patents and many scientific papers.
GenSpera, Inc. is a biotechnology company focused on the development and commercialization of promising, new therapeutics. They combine powerful insights and rigorous scientific methods to create new treatment options for patients.
Mipsagargin is in human clinical trials for patients with several different tumor types:
-Hepatocellular carcinoma, or liver cancer
-Glioblastoma, or brain cancer
The cutting-edge platform technology has the potential to work across a spectrum of drugs that precisely target different cancers.
GenSpera has a strong intellectual property portfolio and has been granted orphan drug status by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for its lead agent.
The generic name Thapsia is derived from the ancient Greek language and the island of ancient Thapsos in Sicily. The root of Thapsia garganica plant has a long history of being used in ancient traditional medicine. Theophrastus, the “Father of Botany” in ancient Greece, spoke of the laxative properties of the root and that it can also cause vomiting. The Algerians recognized that the entire plant was highly inflammatory and could leave scars, though they could make it into a plaster and use it as a pain-reliever.
Thapsia, commonly known as the “deadly carrot” because it was deadly poisonous to camels, is a small genus of poisonous plants in the family Apiaceae. Species of Thapsia are herbaceous perennials, growing 50 to 200 cm (about 1.5 – 6.5 feet) high and resemble the fennel plant. The inflorescences, or flower clusters, are large, regularly distributed umbels, similar in appearance to the ribs of an umbrella. The seeds have four wings, and are the main characteristic of the genus, which is distributed across the Mediterranean, on the Iberian Peninsula, and in North Africa.
The chemical compound thapsigargin has been isolated from Thapsia garganica. The active ingredient kills tumor cells by destroying their calcium balance.
Craig A. Dionne, PhD, is one of the founders and has served on our board since November 2003. He has over 25 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry, including direct experience in identifying promising oncology treatments and bringing them through the clinic. He served for several years as VP Discovery Research at Cephalon, Inc. (now Teva Pharmaceuticals), a biopharmaceutical company, where he was responsible for its oncology and neurobiology drug discovery and development programs.
Dr. Dionne also served as Executive Vice President at the Prostate Cancer Research Foundation. In addition to extensive executive experience, Dr. Dionne’s productive scientific career has led to six issued patents and co-authorship of many scientific papers. Dr. Dionne received his PhD from the University of Texas at Austin in 1984.
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