Case Western Reserve University
2016 Harrington Scholar-Innovator
There is a very significant unmet need in treating opioid-induced respiratory depression (OIRD) and reducing time on mechanical ventilation. Respiratory depression is one of the highest inpatient costs in the US, leading to mortality, morbidities and extended length of stay.
Dr. Gaston discovered that red blood cells were able to make a product that increases minute ventilation. From there and with the 2016 Harrington Scholar-Innovator award, Dr. Gaston began to develop a drug that increases respiratory rate and tidal volume, as well as the ability to overcome narcotic-induced respiratory depression.
With Harrington’s help, Dr. Gaston and his team were able to get many of the PK/PD studies done with their parent compound, as well as develop more compounds along the way.
After the completion of the award, Dr. Gaston began working with Atelerix Life Sciences in Charlottesville, Virginia on preclinical development of the drug. In 2021, Dr. Gaston and his team were awarded an R61 grant from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the NIH to advance their drug towards the clinic.
Their next steps include a pre-IND meeting with the Food and Drug Administration.
“I knew it would be fun and rewarding to come to work. When the pediatrician can solve the puzzle of a child’s disorder, the child often gets dramatically better. I’m thankful that Harrington Discovery Institute provides new resources to solve some of the more difficult puzzles.”