Sep 10, 2019
This episode features two legends of biomedical research. In the realm of human health and longevity, cancer’s ability to mutate, grow, and thwart the body’s natural defenses presents one of the greatest scientific challenges of our time. In 2001, Dr. Ira Pastan led the creation of a new type of cancer drug, a recombinant immunotoxin, that promised to directly target and kill cancer cells. After years of research and clinical trials, this first-generation immunotoxin was approved by the FDA in September 2018 for certain adults with hairy cell leukemia, providing a promising new therapy to a group of patients who previously had few other options.
And we have a special guest host for this episode, Dr. Michael Gottesman, who, as the NIH Deputy Director for Intramural Research, leads the thousands of researchers and clinicians working within the IRP each day — while also conducting groundbreaking research in his own laboratory into how cancer cells become resistant to chemotherapy and other anti-cancer drugs. Drs. Gottesman and Pastan are two guiding lights in our quest to overcome the obstacles to effectively treating cancer in order to improve and save potentially millions of lives. As friends and colleagues for many years, they also trained and collaborated with several of the most celebrated IRP researchers who made extraordinary breakthroughs for human health.