His role as a Clinical Professor of Medicine, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, University at Buffalo, Professor of Medicine and Director of Early Phase Clinical Trials Program in the Department of Medicine at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, He is developing novel therapies for patients with cancer. This includes clinical trials from the early pre-clinical phase through phase I/II/III with emphasis on a combination of immune and targeted agents, novel drug design, including histology-agnostic trial development of targeted therapies. He also provides advice on regulatory requirements and necessary steps associated with advancing drugs, devices, and imaging agents toward clinical trials in patients. In his professional career, I have focused both on developing precision medicine agents as well as immunotherapies. In the first-in-human trial of PLX4032/vemurafenib, our team has provided critical PK/PD data that led to the first in class/ first in human FDA-approved BRAF inhibitor. His interest and expertise in immunotherapy started in the early 1990s with animal models of IL-2 and IL-15 cytokines and natural killer cell development, continued with high dose IL-2 studies, and subsequently Phase I-III trials with both CTLA-4 and PD1/PDL-1 checkpoint inhibitors. Our team was instrumental in the development of talimogene laherparepvec, the first in human oncolytic virus therapy for patients with melanoma. Recently, we have explored immunotherapy combinations with targeted agents as well as combinations of oncolytic viruses with checkpoint inhibitors. Our work was instrumental in several FDA approvals of breakthrough anti-cancer drugs (vemurafenib, dabrafenib+trametinib, vemurafenib+cobimetinib, pembrolizumab, talimogene laherparepvec) and resulted in almost 100 manuscripts, including New England Journal of Medicine, Lancet, Journal of Clinical Oncology, JAMA, Nature. I am a member of American Society of Medical Oncology, Society of Immunotherapy in Cancer, ACP, AACR and Society of Melanoma Research and serve as an editor and reviewer for several peer reviewed journals.
Dr. Puzanov is Director of the Early Phase Clinical Trials Program and Chief of Melanoma at Roswell Park and overall Principal Investigator on the trial, and has done extensive work with a similar drug, tocilizumab.
Puzanov joined WBEN on Friday to ensure people that the study of the drug would not take months or years. “This is really day by day, and the outcome could be avoiding ventilators, which is a pretty good outcome.”
A new 10-year analysis led by Igor Puzanov, MD, MSci, FACP, Director of Early Phase Clinical Trials and Chief of Melanoma at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center and published today in the journal JAMA Oncology provides new insights into an important question: whether BRAF V600E/K mutation status or previous BRAF inhibitor (BRAFi) therapy with or without a MEK inhibitor (MEKi) affects response to pembrolizumab (brand name Keytruda) in patients with advanced melanoma.
16-Jul-2020 04:05:49 PM EDT
"The defense mechanisms that allow cancer cells to go undetected sometimes are similar to how viruses hide from the immune system. So applying what we know from virology can help us to identify and exploit weaknesses in SARS CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19," says Igor Puzanov, MD, MSci, FACP, Professor of Medicine, Director of Early Phase Clinical Trials, Co-Leader of the Developmental Therapeutics Program and Chief of the Melanoma Section in the Department of Medicine.
“Cancer and infection have a lot in common, it's the processes involve the immune system and the inefficacy of the immune system to actually clear either the cells which went into the cancer pathway or the viruses or bacteria, which are kind of breaking through.”
“The immune system should detect any danger and clear it before it becomes so fatal to the organism. And when you think about cancer - cancer usually means that somehow that first line of innate immune defense - meaning like the natural immunity, we all have against, big threats which we inherited from our ancestors got broken through.”
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