Speaker: Craig Shimasaki, PHd, MBA
Webinar: Can Infections Really Trigger Neuropsychiatric and Behavioral Disorders? Understanding a Biological Basis for Autoimmune Attacks on the Brain
Register to watch: Recorded Webinar
The burden of care and clinical challenges of neuropsychiatric and behavioral disorders are immense.
Compelling research and clinical studies demonstrate a connection between infections, the immune system and the brain, and how these can lead to autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders such as PANS and PANDAS.
Certain common infections such as strep, Lyme, mycoplasma and others can result in neurologic, psychiatric, and behavioral symptoms through a process called molecular mimicry. This is a biological mechanism in which an infection can stimulate (in a genetically susceptible host) an autoimmune response that results in autoantibodies directed against portions of their brain and central nervous system proteins.
In this presentation, I will review how infections can trigger immune dysregulation resulting in autoantibodies directed against targets in the brain that interrupt normal neurologic functions. Data will be presented from published case studies examining autoantibodies and their correlation with various neuropsychiatric disorders, as well as their utility in diagnosis and treatment decisions. We will discuss how certain brain and central nervous system receptors become targets of the immune system that result in common symptoms associated with PANDAS/PANS.
The objective of this presentation is to provide a basic understanding of this autoimmune mechanism, which can aid in the proper identification and treatment of various neuropsychiatric disorders caused by immune dysfunction. This information may also provide insight on how this biological mechanism may also apply to other chronic disorders involving the brain and central nervous system.
About Craig Shimasaki, PHd, MBA
Dr. Shimasaki is co-founder and CEO of Moleculera Labs, a neuroimmunology precision medicine company focused on diagnosing neurologic, psychiatric, and behavioral disorders triggered by an autoimmune response. The company’s testing panel is based on over 20 years of work from Dr. Madeleine Cunningham’s laboratory at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. Dr. Shimasaki has been in the biotechnology industry for over 35 years, starting his career at Genentech. As a scientist, businessperson, and serial entrepreneur his work spans all stages of research and development from bench to bedside. His R&D work included epitope mapping for an HIV vaccine, SNP-based genetic breast cancer risk prediction biomarkers, a rapid influenza diagnostic, and therapeutic and biologic products for infectious diseases, neuropsychiatric disorders and noise induced hearing loss. He co-founded several companies and led multiple products through the FDA approval process and is a co-inventor on several patents.
Dr. Shimasaki received his BS in Biochemistry from the University of California at Davis, his PhD in Molecular Biology from the University of Tulsa, and his MBA from Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Business. He is an Adjunct Professor and Senior Entrepreneur-in-Residence at the University of Oklahoma, Price School of Business and teaches biotechnology entrepreneurship. His passion is to help translate scientific and medical discoveries into acutely needed products so that more patients can live healthier lives.