Ben Bruno, PharmD

Graduate Student

Department of Pharmaceutics & Pharmaceutical Chemistry

30 S 2000 E
LS Skaggs Pharmacy Institute
Salt Lake City, Utah, 84112
ph: 801.581.7120

Research Projects

While tyrosine kinases inhibitors (TKI) are effective first-line treatment for Chronic Myelogenous
Leukemia (CML), there is a need for new therapeutic agents that are effective in those for whom TKI are
not effectively. I am currently working with Andy Dixon on implementing his rationally designed coiled-
coil that is to be used in disrupting the oligomerization of the protein BCR-Abl, the causative agent of
most CML. The rationally designed coiled-coil (CCmut) has been shown to by cytotoxic to cells that are
BCR-Abl positive. A leukemia specific cell penetrating peptide (CPP) was added to the rationally
designed coiled-coil mutant. The combination of the leukemia cell specific cell penetrating peptide along
with the designed coiled-coil will hopefully result in a therapeutic agent with high specificity and toxicity
towards leukemic cells.

I will also be working with Dr. David Liu’s laboratory (Harvard) with their +36 charged version of
GFP. This protein has been shown to deliver both protein and plasmids to many different cell types.
Other members of the lab are working on using RNAi to knock down proteins that are over-expressed in
CML cells and play a role in disease progression. I will be working with the other members of my lab
after they determine which strategies of gene or protein knockdown work best. We will then use the
supercharged GFP to deliver the CC, plasmids, siRNA, and other anti-CML genes to the leukemic cells.
The combination of these therapies will hopefully proceed to become a clinically relevant treatment for
those with