CAPT. Philip Coyne, M.D., M.S.P.H on NTDS & Partnerships

Philip E. Coyne Jr., M.D., M.S.P.H. is a CAPT in the US Public Health Service, Department of Preventive Medicine and Biometrics and an Assistant Professor of Tropical Public Health at F. Edward Herbert School of Medicine, Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences. Dr. Coyne is an alumnus of the University of Notre Dame and the Peace Corps.

As an alumnus and generous contributor of his time and expertise to programs at the University of Notre Dame, Dr. Philip Coyne's visits to campus are heartily welcomed by those who know him. On October 8th, CRND students were privileged to make his acquaintance with an informal luncheon Q&A and his seminar on, “Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative and Product Development Partnerships.”

Dr. Coyne's seminar addressed the changing face of neglected tropical disease (NTD) treatment and a paradigm-shift necessitated by set-backs in recent decades. Dr. Coyne captured the optimism of an earlier time, quoting Aiden Cockburn's 1963 publication, The Evolution and Eradication of Infectious Diseases: “We can look forward with confidence to a considerable degree of freedom from infectious diseases at a time not too far in the future. Indeed…it seems reasonable to anticipate that within some measurable time…all the major infections will have disappeared." Using Dr. Jamot's experience with African Sleeping Sickness as an example, Dr. Coyne illustrated the sweeping of curve of decreasing cases from 1930 to 1960, followed by nearly symmetrical increase of cases from 1960 to the present. Dr. Coyne noted the curative effect of similar disappointments on the scientific community's "hubris" and its early response through The Rockefellar Foundation's "Great Neglected Diseases Program" in 1977. At that time3.8 billion infections were estimated among 10 NTDs under study. Dr. Coyne told students about "the awakening" of a new age in tropical medicine during the 1980 and its continuation to this day.

Students were listened with rapt interest to Dr. Coyne's discussion of his Peace Corp experience and the efforts of organizations like Doctors Without Borders (Medicins Sans Frontiers - MSF). He described the role of MSF in advocating for essential medicines for impoverished people and the role of US AIDs activists in educating and moving forward an agenda for HIV intervention. In 1999, MSF won the Nobel Prize for its efforts to bring essential medicine to the suffering people of the developing world.

Dr. Coyne introduced students to some of the economic roadblocks to the development new drugs for NTDs, which account for 12% of the world's disease burden, but only 1.3% of new drugs developed. Citing Chirac and Torreele (Lancet. 2006 May 12; 1560-1561), Dr. Coyne illustrated the disparity of 1,535 drugs developed for other diseases versus 18 new drugs for NTDs (period, 1975 to 2004).

Finally, Dr. Coyne discussed the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi) and a number of its highly encouraging projects aimed at developing new drugs and new formulations of existing drugs for patients suffering from communicable and neglected diseases. Dr. Coyne is on the Board of DNDi.


Dr. Coyne has also served as: a Program Officer for Antiparasitic Drug Development at NIH; the Associate Director for Regulatory Affairs, Division of Experimental Therapeutics at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research; Tropical Medicine Consultant, Onchocerciasis Coordination Unit Africa Region, The World Bank; and Medical Review Officer, Antiparasitic Drugs Division of Special Pathogens & Immunologic Drugs, CDER, FDA.


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