Ian Stuart Zagon
Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology
Union Graduate College
Ian Stuart Zagon is a professor of Neuroscience and Anatomy at Pennsylvania state university. He is expertise in the field of treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases showing its safety and efficacy. He has published a number of articles related to his research field in various reputed journals.
One direction of our research has been to understand the role of opioids in diabetes. It is well known that diabetics have an elevate level of enkephalins and problems with pain perception. We have connected the increased levels of opioids with delays in wound healing commonly occurring in diabetics. In grants sponsored by NIDDK, we have found that a topical application of NTX accelerates corneal wound healing in animals with Type 1 diabetes by disrupting the enhanced interactions of the OGF-OGFr axis in these animals. Introduction of sense or antisense of OGFr into the cornea by a gene gun revealed that the OGF-OGFr pathway is vital to regulating cell proliferation and wound healing. In the course of these experiments, we have devised a topical application of a cream of NTX that accelerates the closure of skin wounds in diabetics. NTX is known as a pure biological compound with little to no direct effects, and we hypothesize that NTX is accelerating wound healing of skin by blocking a critical opioid peptide-opioid receptor pathway. This grant application seeks to understand the underlying basis for these phenomena and tests our hypothesis in mice with Type 1 diabetes by employing knockout animals for classical and non-classical (OGFr) receptors and studying the absence of receptors on wound healing. In a third specific aim, we will use tissue culture of epithelial cells along with a wound model to integrate information in Specific Aims 1 and 2 with the cell and molecular biology of opioid action. In summary, we have pioneered in the use of NTX to upregulate wound healing, developed a topical NTX that is safe and efficacious for skin wound repair, have the reagents, tools, and experience to conduct the [-enkephalin - termed opioid growth factor (OGF) in view of its non-neural and neural distribution as well as its function in growth), and opioid receptor (OGFr) associated with cell proliferation. We have partnered with clinicians to translate our science from bench to bedside, and clinical trials have been published regarding the use of OGF - and low dose naltrexone (LDN) - for the treatment of cancer and autoimmune diseases showing safety and efficacy, and topical application of NTX is now being examined in a clinical trial sponsored by the Department of Defense by my co-investigator, Dr. Joseph Sassani. proposed research, demonstrated a record of successful and productive research projects in an area of high relevance to human health and disease, and we are addressing an important unmet medical needs.