Sisters of St. Joseph of CarondeletMay 27, 2020

Ministry Stories

Sister Patricia Grasso, CSJ (Sister John Damien)

Two years ago, my colleagues and I were informed by our patent lawyers at Albany Medical Center that our two patent applications which claimed the chemistry of a unique anti-obesity and anti-hyperglycemic peptide related to a larger protein called leptin, had been accepted by the U.S. Patent Office and by the Patent Office of Australia. These patents were both awarded in August of 2004.

Publication of the U.S. patent sparked an interest in our peptide of Aegis Therapeutics, a pharmaceutical company in San Diego, CA. For two years, we have worked with Aegis to improve the potency of our peptide and to develop a non-injectable (and more user-friendly) formulation. Both of these objectives have been accomplished. A nasal spray was developed and tested in both mice and rats and was found to be just as effective as the injected peptide in regulating body-weight gain and blood-glucose levels. In October of 2008, we were awarded two more patents claiming the more potent peptide and the non-injectable formulation.
Into the future, Aegis Therapeutics has assumed responsibility for the marketing of our inventions and is seeking to sub-license the nasal spray to one or more larger pharmaceutical companies who will begin clinical trials (in people). Needless to say, this intention is one that is well worth all of our prayers. Professionally, it marks the culmination of nine years of research and the achievement of a biomedical researcher’s dream.
On a personal note, I feel that I have been specially blessed for the past 26 years with the opportunity not only to help prepare the next generation of physicians, but also to try to provide them with alternative therapies with which to treat disease. I’m sure you will agree that our work is most appropriate at this time in history, since obesity and diabetes are becoming epidemic in scope, especially in the young.
In my spare time I am still helping to take care of Michael, now five-and-a-half years old. His congenital urinary-tract defect has self-corrected on one side, and by the grace of God, he has been infection-free throughout his life. The urologists feel he will be all right, even if the other side does not correct. Michael’s little sister, Rachel, now two-years old, idolizes her big brother, and is a bundle of energy and joy. We are all awaiting the birth of a new baby brother early in January.
Life is truly good. Blessings on all of you!

by Sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet Patricia Grasso