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Published on Jan 21, 2016
Presented by Dr. Vikas P. Sukhatme on December 8, 2015 at MIT in Cambridge, MA.
Lung cancer is sometimes diagnosed in its early stages yet despite surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy, these tumors often recur systemically and lead to death. Retrospective data show that a pre-operative single dose of an existing therapeutic used off-label tended to increase metastasis-free survival over 10 years by about 15%. If proven, this simple, inexpensive, and non-toxic intervention could save the lives of nearly 5,000 lung cancer patients and half a billion dollars in healthcare costs annually in the US alone. However, with today’s drug development model it will never be adopted as standard of care—with little to gain financially, pharmaceutical companies have little interest in sponsoring the prospective trial necessary to validate the data. GlobalCures, a non-profit medical research organization, exists to fill this gap and its model will be presented.
Dr. Sukhatme MD ScD is the Victor Aresty Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School and Chief Academic Officer at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. As a physician-scientist, Dr. Sukhatme has had a longstanding interest in cancer. Current investigations in his laboratory center on tumor metabolism and immunology. He is recognized for interdisciplinary clinical and basic science research: elucidating mechanisms of statin-induced myopathy, tumor angiogenesis and sepsis and as part of the team that discovered the cause of preeclampsia. He has conducted studies on genes important in kidney cancer and polycystic kidney disease. His laboratory cloned the first family of mammalian zinc finger transcription factors, the most common motif in the human genome. Finally, he is a co-founder of a not-for-profit organization, GlobalCures, whose goal is to conduct clinical trials on promising therapies for cancer not being pursued for lack of profitability. Closely related to this effort, he is also spearheading efforts to establish a cancer clinic that uses novel drug combinations off-label for those who have run out of options.