At Washington State University (WSU), Dr. Kevin Gray and his colleagues in the integrative physiology and neuroscience department are developing a revolutionary cancer treatment.
Chemotherapy drugs cannot target specific cells, so even when successful, treatment also kills healthy cells. This often leads to serious, sometimes fatal, side effects.
Antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) work by binding chemotherapy drugs to cancer-targeting antibodies produced by the patient. These antibodies then home in on cancer cells, leaving healthy cells alone. However, current ADCs can only utilize a single, relatively low-dose drug, risking poor efficacy and resistance by cancerous cells.
Gray’s team is developing the world’s first multifunctional ADC. Their unique engineering of the proteins involved in the delivery of the drugs allows higher and more diverse doses to be used, increasing the effectiveness of the treatment and expanding the types of cancer that can be treated with ADCs.
WRF provided a $50,000 grant to allow Gray and his colleagues to scale up development and testing of their technique. With help from WSU Innovation Corps, Gray, Dr. Afshin Khan and Alexander Brown formed a company, Chimeric Designs, to enable the treatment to reach the public when it is ready.