PDCD (Pyruvate Dehydrogenase Complex Deficiency)

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What is the mitochondrial disorder PDCD?

PDCD is an abbreviation for pyruvate dehydrogenase complex deficiency, a genetic mitochondrial disorder in children which is frequently associated with lactic acidosis and neurological/neuromuscular symptoms. Join us Friday November 7th, 2014 with Dr. Peter Stacpoole from the University of Florida to learn about testing, diagnosis and treatment of PDCD.

(From Dr. Stacpoole’s Benefunder Research page)

Mitochondria are the intracellular “powerhouses” of our cells. They are responsible for generating the energy needed by every tissue and organ in our bodies to perform their normal functions. Energy is essential to life and, when energy production is compromised, disease results. PDC is a key enzyme for maintaining the body’s energy supply. The scientific team lead by Dr. Peter Stacpoole at the University of Florida in Gainesville, Florida, has connected a number of disease states to their potential treatment with the drug dichloroacetate (DCA). DCA stimulates PDC, increasing its ability to promote cellular energy production. DCA has shown promise in treating several life-threatening diseases, including cancer, pulmonary arterial hypertension and congenital PDC deficiency in children.

Solutions are needed to deliver the fruits of science to patients for whom they are intended. With DCA, Dr. Stacpoole’s team has developed a uniquely acting compound that is a prototype of new class of drugs to increase the efficiency of normal metabolic processes essential for cell survival. Indeed, the story of DCA is a striking example in which the basic scientific questions have been answered and animal studies and even early stage clinical trials have been conducted. Yet, DCA is too simple a molecule to be patented. This problem has prevented traditional pharmaceutical support for conducting human trials with DCA in diseases in which currently approved therapy is either inadequate or nonexistent.

About the Speaker

Dr. Stacpoole received his Ph.D. in 1972, from the University of California at San Francisco. He received his MD degree in 1976, from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. He also completed his internship and residency (1976-1978) training in Internal Medicine and Endocrinology Fellowship (1978-1980) training at Vanderbilt University. In 1980, Dr. Stacpoole became a member of the Department of Medicine at the University of Florida where he is currently a Professor of Medicine, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Research Interests

Dr. Stacpoole’s federally-sponsored research is broadly focused in two areas: intermediary metabolism and new drug development. He conducts patient oriented research on the Shands Hospital Clinical Research Center (CRC) and collaborates with investigators across N. America into the causes and treatment of genetic mitochondrial diseases, due to nuclear DNA or mitochondrial DNA mutations in genes that encode enzymes of carbohydrate metabolism or oxidative phosphorylation. These studies also engage collaborators with expertise in neurology, neurobehavior, clinical pharmacology, neuroscience and cell and molecular biology.

Related research includes mechanistically oriented laboratory studies on the molecular and biochemical consequences of loss-of-function mutations in the mitochondrial pyruvate dehydrogenase complex (PDC) and therapeutic interventions for PDC deficiency. He also collaborates with other faculty at the University of Florida to investigate the regulation of homocystine metabolism in humans in response to different genotypes or nutritional perturbations.

With regard to new drug development, Dr. Stacpoole and his colleagues have developed a prototype for a novel class of investigational drugs for the treatment of acquired or inborn errors of mitochondrial energy metabolism and lactic acidosis. The prototype of this class, dichloroacetate (DCA), is undergoing clinical trials on the CRC in healthy subjects and in children and adults with congenital lactic acidosis. Its sites and mechanisms of action are being further explored by in vitro and in vivo laboratory studies employing cell and molecular techniques and mass spectrometry.

Date: 11/11/2014
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