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Pravin Kaumaya

Pravin Kaumaya
Pravin Kaumaya
Obstetrics & Gynecology, Cancer Center

Vaccine Research: A Shot in the Arm for Cancer Fight

Is it possible to direct our immune systems to recognize and kill our own cancer cells? Vaccines developed by Pravin Kaumaya show promise for doing just that. And with this kind of precision targeting, Kaumaya intends to create “gentler and more humane” cancer treatments that do less overall damage by leaving healthy cells alone. In phase I clinical trials of vaccines his lab developed against breast and ovarian cancers, among others, the experimental drugs showed little toxicity and were linked to the maintenance of stable disease. He specializes in developing synthetic peptides – small proteins made up of 50 or fewer amino acids – to provoke tumor-specific immune responses that both attack cancer cells and halt the growth of established tumors. He will update you on these methods and other immunotherapy approaches to defeating cancer. In the case of synthetic peptides, they’re also easy to manufacture and cost-effective. His vaccine technologies designed for treating and preventing cancers associated with the HER-2 protein have been licensed, which will accelerate human clinical trials and the potential for vaccine use in clinical settings. Combination immunotherapy that targets multiple signaling molecules at once may be be used to prevent resistance, which is a grave problem in targeted therapies. Kaumaya’s extensive portfolio includes developing additional therapies targeting cancers that overexpress multiple proteins; a combination Phase 1 clinical trial is being planned. Affected cancers include breast, ovarian, lung, colon and pancreatic cancers, and uncommon gastrointestinal tumors.

Kaumaya is a professor of obstetrics and gynecology and director of the division of vaccine development for the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center

Faculty website

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