February 17, 2013

@MoffittNews' Dr. Jeffrey S. Weber, MD, PhD -- $PVCT KOL

Moffitt's Dr. Amod Sarnaik, MD said, in Provectus' January 8, 2013 PR, "We look forward to verifying the promising pre-clinical data from our ongoing work in this translational study. These results should help elucidate the immunologic basis of the 'bystander effect' noted in previous clinical studies of PV-10 and help optimize PV-10 treatment, particularly in combination with other therapies."

On the bio page of Dr. Jeffrey Weber, MD, PhD, the director of the Donald A. Adam Comprehensive Melanoma Research Center at Moffitt Cancer Center, you will read "As a tumor immunologist & immunotherapist, I focus on translational clinical trials including development of novel trials in melanoma based on my lab work."

What does a translational study in cancer research mean? A translational study turns knowledge from the laboratory into a treatment for patients.

Such is the gravity of what Moffitt should say.

According to the October 2002 paper from the immediately prior link, "[T]he concept of translational research addresses what would be an efficient and orderly way of applying the advanced understanding and technology of the field of biology to cancer treatment. The essence of translational research lies in coming to understand the biological features of a cancer so as to translate molecular biological evidence into clinical anticancer strategies. In other words, "translational research" can simply be defined as the process of determining a treatment solely on the basis of molecular biological characteristics."

The paper goes on to say: "There has been much debate over many years as to the best approach to stimulate immunity against tumors. Previously, researchers involved in immunotherapy ground up tumors and simply gave them back to the patients they were removed from or to other patients. This is not really translational research. At present, there is an understanding that the tumor antigens can be isolated and grouped as to which are more or less likely to provoke an immune response by collaborating with HLA antigens. Knowledgeof this resulted from an understanding of the biology of how antigens are processed. We can now define which peptides in which the antigens have a likelihood of inducing a response when they are presented either as cells or with dendritic cells or in other ways. It can be said that to merely give tumor vaccines without consideration of immune response is not translational. But it is translational to have a selection of antigens based on our understanding of how the immune system operates and which antigens are likely to be or actually are expressed in a tumor, because we are incorporating the biology into the clinical trial design."

Dr. Weber was instrumental in the approval of Vemurafenib (now Zelboraf), saying in April 2012 the success of Vemurafenib represented "the single most dramatic improvement in the treatment of melanoma in 20 years."

According to more of his Moffitt biographic information, Dr. Weber is charged with "...bringing together basic scientists, clinical and translational investigators and prevention/epidemiology scientists in an integrated overall melanoma research effort that rapidly brings new drugs and ideas to the clinic."

"He works extensively with [Dr.] Vernon Sondak...[and] has an extensive history of conducting translational and investigator-initiated clinical trials."

"Dr. Weber’s research interests lie in the monitoring and characterization of T cell responses to vaccination in cancer patients, and in the establishment of in vitro models to facilitate the understanding of how immune modulating antibodies amplify T cell responses in patients. He is also interested in the mechanisms by which achieving autoimmunity induces regression of cancer."

Such is the gravitas of Moffitt's Dr. Weber.

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