COMSTECH Webinar
Transforming Newcastle Disease Virus: From Menace to Potential Therapeutic Ally

Date: Wednesday, 9th August 2023
Time: 03:00 pm (Pakistan Standard Time)
Online participation only.

Flyer: Click Here

Speaker/Convener

Professor Khatijah Mohd Yusoff
PhD, DSc (honoris causa) (La Trobe)
FASc, FTWAS, FIAS, FMSA
National Institutes of Biotechnology Malaysia

Speakers Profile:

Dr. Khatijah has extensive engagement and network with industry, professional bodies and academies. She is currently the Vice-President of Islamic World Academy of Sciences (IAS), member of the Council of Scientific Advisors of International Centre for Genetic engineering and Biotechnology (ICGEB), a Senior Fellow of the Academy of Sciences Malaysia (ASM), Fellow of the Malaysian Scientific Association (MSA) and Fellow and former Vice-President of The World Academy of Sciences for the advancement of science in developing countries (TWAS). Her 5-year stint as the Deputy Secretary-General of Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation Malaysia (2008-2013) gave her an opportunity to promote science through national policies and development of a strong framework in managing Science in the country. She believes strongly on the need for translating science into tangible benefits to people around the world; she previously sat on the Board of Trustees of the International Livestock Research Institute, SEAMEO-BIOTROP Governing Board, Advisory Board for La Trobe Asia, and the Technical Advisory Panel for COMSATS as well as several agencies in Malaysia. She is currently the Chairman of the National Committee on Research Integrity. Her research focuses on the molecular biology of Newcastle disease virus, a poultry virus which kills cancer cells without affecting the normal cells.  Through reverse genetics, she is currently developing an NDV-based cancer vaccine for the treatment of colorectal and bladder cancers.  Her research and innovation have received great acclaim nationally and internationally such as the prestigious Merdeka Award (2015) and UNESCO’s Carlos Finlay Prize for microbiology (2005).  She was recognised as one of the top 20 most influential women in science in the Islamic World. She was also featured in a 2021 special edition of DC Comics « Wonder Women: Wonderful Women of The World.   Her special message to young scientists looking to impact their field is to « never give up and value the importance of teamwork ».

Who Should Attend?

Early stage researchers, students, relevant personnel from the research Laboratories and industries.

Abstract of the webinar:

Newcastle disease virus (NDV) is an important avian paramyxovirus that naturally infects a wide range of bird species, including domestic poultry. The resulting Newcastle disease (ND) poses a substantial threat to the poultry industry, leading to considerable economic losses. While mass vaccination using modified live vaccines has been successful in controlling the virus, sporadic outbreaks still occur due to the emergence of new genotypes among circulating NDV strains that differ from the vaccine strains.  In a ground breaking development, reverse genetics techniques have been employed to create a remarkably stable avirulent vaccine against these circulating NDV strains. By selectively replacing specific genes of the circulating virus with genes from the vaccine strain, researchers have achieved an effective means of combating the disease. Furthermore, NDV has demonstrated a remarkable ability to selectively target and destroy human cancer cells, making it a promising candidate for oncovirotherapy. The virus exhibits a unique characteristic of selectively lysing cancer cells with a high degree of specificity and sensitivity, leaving normal cells unharmed. Exploiting this property, NDV can be harnessed for cancer treatment by engineering it to carry immunomodulatory genes. These genes would attract immune cells to attack the cancer cells, thereby enhancing the efficiency of oncolysis—the destruction of cancer cells using viruses. The use of reverse genetics to manipulate the NDV genome in the development of the aforementioned vaccines represents an exciting and challenging avenue for cancer therapy. It opens up new possibilities for leveraging the virus’s potential to combat cancer while minimizing harm to healthy cells. This innovative approach holds great promise for advancing cancer treatment and offers hope for improved therapeutic outcomes.

Registration Form: https://forms.gle/5mtLgByxHUM9jEFx8

For more information please contact:

Khazima Muazim
Program Manager COMSTECH
khazima@comstech.org

Maham Yamin
Program Officer COMSTECH
maham.yamin@comstech.org

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