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A Global Practice

"From elementary school, I knew that I loved science. I do not know exactly why – I do not have any family members who are doctor or doctor," says Jorge

What he did was a donation for research.As a high school science competitor, he isolated antibiotics from the soil and won first prize in the state of Georgia for a project that produced biofuel from kudzu roots

Jorge specialized in biology at Emory University in Atlanta, training programs at the CDC's Parasitology Unit, between his work and his success in science he had already decided to pursue a career in infectious medicine.The subject pleased him, because he liked the idea of ​​having the power to cure people with drugs, such as antibiotics.

Some years later, Jorge was admitted to the medical school of Joh University Hopkins ns Baltimore where he worked at the height of the AIDS epidemic

"It was 20-year-olds and 30-year-olds. There were people screaming literally, "I do not want to die." And I remember thinking that it was the opposite of what I was attracted to. Here we could not handle anything.

The care of HIV / AIDS patients, he soon learned, has attracted more knowledge and skills than any other disease. agreement on the human side, but also scientifically, because these patients suffered from any other type of infection, multiple other diseases. After graduating from medical school and completing a residency and residency in Internal Medicine at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, Jorge completed a fellowship in infectiology studies. diseases at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland. This has turned into an employee position at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), and soon an opportunity to track his interest in HIV / AIDS at the same time. other end of the world.

Only one year after joining NIAID Jorge moved to Sydney, Australia, to coordinate NIH-sponsored clinical trials in Thailand, South Africa and Argentina to see how infectious diseases have replaced the vast differences cultural; in Bangkok and Capetown, Buenos Aires and Baltimore, he met the same desperate need.

Unfortunately, the treatment that the trials evaluated was not found to provide a clinical benefit. Nevertheless, he believes that the study – one of the largest phase III studies on HIV / AIDS ever conducted – has been used for something.

"We are ready to do the best tests, ask the right question and get the right answer. And the correct answer was no, it did not work, but we were convinced that was the case because the trial was going well. "

After returning to Bethesda, Jorge became principal investigator at the NIH Clinical Center, where he designed clinical trials and cared for the volunteers involved in these studies, but this routine was disrupted by another unexpected opportunity: at the Following the September 11 attacks, NIAID Director Anthony Fauci asked Jorge to advise Vice President Dick Cheney on biological, chemical, nuclear and radiological threats, and after receiving a top-secret security clearance, Jorge began to inform the vice president every two weeks on topics such as botulinum toxin, smallpox and radiological countermeasures.

After a year in the vice president's travel office continued. established a network of influenza trials with the Mexican Ministry of Health and, in South Africa, initiated HIV / AIDS trials with the National Defense Force He said he would have been very happy to spend the rest of his career at the NIH. But before that, a Genentech recruiter called him and asked him if he had ever considered doing anything else.

"When I came here in my interview, I could not believe the scientific rigor that I saw.It was implementing all these principles that I had learned at NIH, but on a larger scale.The idea of ​​being able to do something that met high unmet needs in different areas of infectious diseases was incredibly exciting. "

Jorge began his Genentech career in the end-stage hepatitis C program. Since then, he has evolved into early development and broadened his horizons widely in infectious diseases and beyond. He lists a list of projects in which he has participated as Group Medical Director and responsible for the therapeutic area of ​​infectious diseases: a vaccine against the monoclonal antibody against influenza and a cocktail of monoclonal antibodies against cytomegalovirus ; an antibiotic designed to kill the most resistant gram-negative bacteria; and an antibody-drug conjugate designed to attack bacteria Staphylococcus aureus that lurk inside the cells.

"It would be the most complex and sophisticated antibiotic," says Jorge of the antibody-drug conjugate. He is also involved in immunology projects, including an experimental medicine developed for lupus and arthritis and another for inflammatory bowel disease.

The breadth and depth of Genentech's work on infectious diseases is a glimmer of hope. threatened by antibiotic resistance, emerging diseases and the risk of a pandemic. The work in which he is involved makes him optimistic about our ability to fight infectious diseases.

"Is all this dark? That's if nobody works on it. But you know, during my career, I've seen two life-threatening diseases controlled or healed. It's HIV and hepatitis C, which have completely changed over the course of my life. So I think we really have the ability to change the future of what medicine looks like. "

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