George D. Yancopoulos

Regeneron Pharmaceuticals, Inc.


Election Year: 2004
Primary Section: 41, Medical Genetics, Hematology, and Oncology
Secondary Section: 43, Immunology and Inflammation
Membership Type: Member

Research Interests

My group's scientific efforts have focused on the discovery and characterization of novel families of cytokines and growth factors as well as their receptors (e.g., neurotrophins/Trks, the CNTF-IL6 family and their gp130-related receptor complexes, ephrins/Ephs, agrin/MuSK, collagens/DDRs, RORs and angiopoietins/Ties), on defining the signal transduction pathways utilized by these growth factor systems, as well as on elucidating the critical biologic roles these key molecular mediators play during normal development as well as in disease (with our more recent efforts focusing on vascular diseases and cancer, inflammatory diseases, muscle atrophy, and obesity and diabetes). Towards these ends my group often develops relevant new technologies (such as the first use of epitope tags in cloning receptors and doing pulldown assays; Traps, which represent a new class of very high-affinity protein-based blockers of growth factor/cytokine action; and VelociGene, which allows for high-throughput manipulation of the mouse genome to make knockouts, transgenics and for other purposes). We have recently initiated large-scale efforts to functionize many genes via VelociGene technology, as well as to exploit VelociGene technology to humanize large portions of the mouse immune system so as to make it a more effective model. All of our efforts are accompanied by an attempt to translate our discoveries into novel therapeutics, several of which are producing promising results in clinical trials, such as the VEGF Trap for cancer and vascular eye diseases, the IL1-Trap for rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases, the IL-4/13 Trap for asthma and allergy, and Axokine for obesity and diabetes.

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