Dr. Donald F. Weaver
MD, PhD, FRCP(C)
Departments of Medicine (Neurology) and
Chemistry and School of Biomedical Engineering
Canada Research Chair Tier 1 Neuroscience
Webster Research Chair
Dr. Donald F. Weaver's research program basically has focused on three disease states: epilepsy, Alzheimer's disease and bacterial infections.
His epilepsy drug-design program has identified 390 beta-alanine analogues that have been screened for antiepileptogenic activity. No such drugs are currently available. His laboratory has discovered and patented one agent with promising antiepileptogenic activity which is now in preclinical development.
In the Alzheimer's drug-design program, Dr. Weaver's group identified a new receptor, BBXB, which is found in both beta-amyloid and tau proteins, and is central to their aggregation process. Two candidate molecules, Fibrillex and Alzhemed, bind to the BBXB receptor and have demonstrated a capacity to prevent aggregation of both beta-amyloid and tau proteins. Alzhemed has not been proven effective in altering the dementia process in Alzheimer's disease but Fibrillex was developed and approved for the treatment of systemic amyloidosis.
Recent work has identified a compound, NCE 217, which has simultaneous activity against both the beta-amyloid and tau proteins. This discovery is being labelled a major breakthrough in Alzheimer's disease and was awarded the American Health Foundation Centennial Award.
In the antimicrobial drug-design program, Dr. Weaver's laboratory has designed a family of novel thiophene analogues that inhibit the LpxA enzyme, thereby functioning as innovative antimicrobials against Gram-negative sepsis. Dr. Weaver's work has been recognized internationally.
The Research Award recognizes the outstanding contribution of a researcher or a research team having made, according to the Prix Galien Canada jury, a significant contribution to the diagnosis, prevention or treatment of disease. Candidates from academia, health-care institutions, research centres and the biopharmaceutical industry are eligible.
Dr. Donald F. Weaver, winner of the Prix Galien Canada 2009 Research Award, with The Honourable Leona Aglukkaq, Minister of Health (left), and Dr. Jacques Gagné, Prix Galien Canada Jury President (right).