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#62 – Keith Flaherty, M.D.: Deep dive into most cancers—Historical past of oncology, novel approaches to remedy, and the thrilling and hopeful future – Athletic Healthcare
Saturday, February 24, 2024
Mitochondrial Health

#62 – Keith Flaherty, M.D.: Deep dive into most cancers—Historical past of oncology, novel approaches to remedy, and the thrilling and hopeful future

On this episode, Keith Flaherty, director of scientific analysis and focused most cancers remedy at Massachusetts Normal Hospital, shares his huge wealth of information in most cancers beginning with the historical past of remedy from chemotherapy to radiation to surgical remedy and the place these methodologies appeared to have leveled off. He additionally walks us by way of the timeline of developments (and lack there of) from when the Conflict on Most cancers was declared within the 1970s, by way of the sequencing of all the human genome, and all the way in which to right now. Keith dives into the subject of immunotherapy, most likely essentially the most thrilling latest improvement in most cancers remedy, and likewise gives us a rundown of his notion of a special method to most cancers that assaults all of the important pillars of most cancers development and survival. Lastly, we discuss a bit of bit about liquid biopsies, we focus on the roles of CRISPR and different probably over-hyped therapies with respect to most cancers. We additionally contact on stem cell remedy a bit, in addition to another frequent cancer-related questions such because the function of vitamin D and solar publicity in melanoma, and far more. 


We focus on:

  • Rising up round drugs, and discovering a profession that you just love [7:30];
  • Drugs as a profession, limitations of the med faculty instructing method, and the dynamic and accelerating area of drugs and expertise [16:30];
  • Explaining chemotherapy, radiation, and the way a most cancers develops [23:45];
  • Surgical oncology, treatment fee of stable tumors, and survival fee after tumor removing  [33:15];
  • 25 years after the Conflict on Most cancers is said, gene sequencing, and why Keith’s was fascinated by the HIV case examine [37:15];
  • Most cancers immunotherapy: Historical past, the way it works, and why some cancers reply and others don’t [46:00];
  • MHC complexes, and most cancers cloaking mechanisms [56:00];
  • Comparative biology of most cancers: Why some most cancers can evade immune detection higher than others [1:03:00];
  • What we discovered from the Most cancers Genome Atlas Venture [1:07:00];
  • Defining focused remedy, HER2 breast most cancers, persistent leukemia, and the translocation of chromosomes [1:12:00];
  • Tumor protein P53, essentially the most well-known tumor suppressor gene and its ubiquity in most cancers [1:17:45];
  • Activated oncogenes, the RAS pathway, PI3 kinase, RAF gene, and Keith’s “aha second” [1:24:15];
  • Recommendation for beginning your profession as a scientist/clinician [1:37:00];
  • Fusion-driven cancers, focused remedy, and the Bcr-Abl/persistent myelogenous leukemia case examine [1:39:45];
  • Focused remedy for fusion-driven stable tumors, adjuvant systemic remedy, and the HER2 breast most cancers instance [1:53:00];
  • Advancing melanoma remedy, survival, and treatment charges with BRAF-MEK combo remedy [1:59:15];
  • The elemental pillars of most cancers development and survival, and the toolkit we have to assault most cancers from all angles [2:02:40];
  • Peter’s scientific framework for fascinated about most cancers and the way Keith may enhance it, and the way the biotech atmosphere is hampering our means to place collectively novel most cancers remedies [2:05:00];
  • How helpful is CRISPR when it comes to tumor suppressing? [2:16:15];
  • Liquid biopsies as a therapeutic monitoring software [2:18:00];
  • Stem cell remedy: The efficacy and potential dangers [2:25:15];
  • Ageing and most cancers: Is most cancers inevitable? [2:28:45];
  • Vitamin D dietary supplements, solar publicity, melanoma, and train [2:32:30];
  • How and why Keith has straddled the road between science/analysis and business/drug firms, and the significance of getting extra voices of practitioners on the desk [2:42:00]; and
  • Extra.


Rising up round drugs, and discovering a profession that you just love [7:30]

The place are you from?

  • Born and raised in Baltimore
  • Broke away to boarding faculty in Massachusetts for 4 years
  • Connecticut for faculty, 4 years, 
  • then again to Baltimore, 4 years of medical faculty. 
  • Boston for the primary time, three years of residency and
  •  then, Philadelphia for 9 years, which was each medical oncology fellowship and my first college stint. 
  • And now, ten years in the past, moved again as much as Boston to Mass Normal. 

Rising up round drugs

  • Father and mom had been physicians
  • My father was an instructional heart specialist for 25 years
  • Mother was an instructional psychiatrist, really, actually nonetheless is on the age of now

When do you know you wished to enter drugs?

  • Knew he wished to “assist” folks is a way or one other
  • Didn’t wish to go into the “enterprise” world
  • He additionally noticed that each his mother and father had been very enthusiastic about what they had been doing
  • Finally, drugs simply appeared to face out among the many profession choices

The superb line for folks: “being dwelling” vs. “setting an instance” when it comes to seeing them engaged on one thing with ardour and self-discipline 

  • There’s one thing to be stated when that little one sees their mother or dad feeling extremely enthusiastic about what they’re doing
  • For instance, Keith’s spouse (Mira Kautzky)

    • She’s an internist at Mass Normal
    • They watch her pour herself into the oblique care of sufferers by way of the digital medical document and continually mirror that she’s the toughest working individual they know. 
    • That type of willingness to present, give, give outdoors of 1’s private time, household time, is said to this very nebulous notion of what it’s that certified as a satisfying profession

Keith feels luck to do what he does for a dwelling

  • Keith looks like most individuals dislike their job and so they’re simply holding their breath making an attempt to get to the weekend
  • He says he’s a part of that small group of people that love what they do
  • That stated, his work/life steadiness has been “off the rails” when it comes to working lengthy hours and being over dedicated and making an attempt to juggle approach too many issues
  • Nevertheless, he would additionally say that “it was precisely the optimum quantity of chaos that one wants to actually really feel such as you’re pushing on all fronts concurrently” 
  • How do you each discover the outlet and outline the scope of a profession that lets you do this? ⇒ “What a problem!
  • Keith believes the altering occasions will possible create a good larger problem for future generations

Drugs as a profession, limitations of the med faculty instructing method, and the dynamic and accelerating area of drugs and expertise [16:30]

Peter says, the trail to “educational success”, non-academic scientific success, it’s nonetheless comparatively unperturbed in comparison with so many different paths outdoors of drugs… does Keith agree?

  • “I don’t see it that approach” says Keith
  • Keith sees how quickly the expertise and wealth of information is accelerating 
  • Issues like information era, means to supply excessive dimensional information, analyze it, attempt to make sense of it, increase hypotheses, take a look at hypotheses, but the cycle time is altering quite a bit, and the constituents that we now have to work together with are completely completely different
  • The purpose I’m coming to… I see drugs now as this terrifying enviornment wherein to attempt to assemble a multi-decade lengthy profession

How do you retain your self related in a 40 yr arc? Keith posits…

  • Right here I’m at 20 years, I really feel like I’m an absolute dinosaur
  • Keith wonders how the brand new era of physicians and scientists will sustain with this quickly accelerating progress

Peter’s take: 

  • Primarily based on the way in which you’re describing it, Keith, I’d say docs popping out of coaching are hosed, as a result of … I feel medical faculty may be some of the anti-intellectual types of greater schooling that exists
  • Peter says even in undergraduate, regulation faculty, Ph.D. packages… you’re inspired to assume creatively, and drawback clear up
  • In different phrases, “I’m unsure medical faculty teaches you learn how to be a thinker or a problem-solver”

*Tip*: don’t take pre-med previous to med faculty (i.e., examine engineering, humanities, or one thing completely unrelated)

Keith’s tackle med faculty and past:

  • Medical faculty teaches info as reality
  • When speaking to folks about most cancers as a profession, he tells them, “look, it’s so easy to seek out the boundary between what’s identified and never identified. There’s a lot on the market we don’t know and in any space of making an attempt to know physiology, pathophysiology, within the mode of most cancers, you’ll so rapidly get to that frontier.”

After which, how do you use in that frontier? 

  • When you’re there, how do you assist the affected person in entrance of you, the following wave of sufferers which are coming within the not too distant future, after which a full era out? 
  • Investigation is the one approach you possibly can pose your self as being useful. And  I didn’t get that in medical faculty, sadly, though I used to be at a improbable atmosphere for studying the archival model of drugs.

Explaining chemotherapy, radiation, and the way a most cancers develops [23:45]

Defining chemotherapy

  • It’s really not exhausting to kill a most cancers cell, it’s really very straightforward to kill a most cancers cell:

    • Bleach
    • Formaldehyde
    • “Go to House Depot, most issues on the shelf kill most cancers completely.”
  • Downside is, they kill the whole lot completely 
  • The arbitrage is the next…

{finish of present notes preview}

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Keith Flaherty, M.D.

Keith Flaherty is director of Developmental Therapeutics on the Massachusetts Normal Hospital Most cancers Middle and affiliate professor of drugs at Harvard Medical Faculty. He additionally serves as editor in chief of the journal, Clinical Cancer Research. He was beforehand a professor of drugs on the College of Pennsylvania. He’s identified for his analysis on focused therapies for most cancers, and specifically for his work on the melanoma drug vemurafenib. In 2013, Massachusetts Normal Hospital partnered with AstraZeneca to companion Flaherty’s analysis into creating a formulation to determine vulnerabilities of tumors with AstraZeneca’s library of medication.

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