Startup Fortune, November 14, 2020 – Dr. Kevin Dalby, Austin University professor and cancer drug discovery specialist, reviews cancer research and treatment progressions and advancements made in 2020. Dalby covers trending subject matters, including CAR T-cell Immunotherapy and expanding treatment options for pancreatic cancer patients.
Kevin Dalby is a chemistry professor and medicinal chemistry professor in the College of Pharmacy, Department of Oncology at The University of Texas. As a cancer drug discovery expert, Dalby considers and is attentive to any annual advancements made in cancer research and treatment. The evolution of cancer research and treatment continues to move forward during a year trumped by COVID-19. The year 2020 has proven itself as a successful one for many cancer scientists and doctors.
Favorable outcomes against cancer include revolutionary advances in utilizing the human body’s immune system to search out for and demolish cancer cells. Researchers made such advances with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell immunotherapy. This specific treatment fights cancer cells by reprogramming the patient’s cells. The FDA currently approves CAR T-cell immunotherapy for two types of cancer. The types of cancer eligible include acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) and large B-cell lymphoma. Researchers and cancer specialists predict a soon coming FDA approval for two more types of cancer (mantle cell lymphoma and multiple myeloma) due to cogent data presented at the American Society of Hematology.
Further advancements regarding T-cell immunotherapy comes labeled as “off-the-shelf immunotherapy.” This advanced cancer treatment eliminates the need to engineer individual patients’ T-cells. The lack of demand for such engineering will decrease the cost and time consumption surrounding the treatment and during its process.
Pancreatic cancer patients often host tumors that are extremely difficult or impossible to be removed by surgery. Through a trial conducted with forty-nine patients with previously untreated locally advanced pancreatic cancer, intensive chemotherapy paired with radiation therapy and the drug losartan for blood pressure opened the doors to allow surgery as an option for patients who need it. Some eligible patients received a short radiotherapy course during the trial while others received a long radiotherapy course. An operation took place for short course patients one to three weeks after radiotherapy. The same surgical procedure happened four to eight weeks after radiotherapy for long course patients.
The overall study reflected that a prescribed therapy could offer more help and options to patients who might not have had the opportunity for surgery in the past. Using the trial’s specific combination to help prepare more patients for surgery following upfront treatment, thirty-four out of the forty-nine trial participants were able to undergo tumor removal surgery. Of those thirty-four who went into surgery, thirty participating patients had their tumor along with all evidence of surrounding cancer removed. The positive results found from this trail offers hope to those with pancreatic cancer who have previously not had the option of surgery. The trial’s impact also contributes to the improvement of survival rates.
About Kevin Dalby
Dr. Kevin Dalby is a chemical biology professor and medicinal chemistry professor currently working on cancer drug discovery. At the College of Pharmacy at The University of Texas, he examines nature and cancer mechanisms to develop new treatments and teach and motivate students to conduct research. Dalby is optimistic about the future of cancer treatments.