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Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong: Disrupting Cancer

Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, the developer of Abraxane—one of the leading cancer-fighting drugs, sat with Dr. Sanjay Gupta on CBS’ 60 Minutes to discuss his unconventional strategies into turning cancer into a chronic disease and not a death sentence.

Currently Soon-Shiong is working on a high-speed tumor genome sequencing machine that will allow practitioners to “watch it, catch it, outsmart it and play chess at this multi-dimensional level”. He believes that people greatly misunderstand exactly what cancer is. His definition: the inability for cells to die. He assumes the key to beating cancer is to find the genetic mutation that is actually preventing the cells from not naturally dying off. Soon-Shiong is working hard to find every genetic mutation that drives the growth of cancer. He has teamed with blackberry to produce the first-ever device that will provide patients and doctors with personalized information for each cancer patient in the palm of their hands, ultimately providing them with the information they need to make more informed decisions. Based on this theory, cancers should be treated according to the type of mutation and not by its anatomical location.

Soon-Shiong is also working on personalizing immunotherapy treatment by duplicating T-cells that will ultimately gobble up the cancer cells. His third plan of attack lies in detecting tumor cells in the bloodstream. He objects traditional cancer treatments that administer high doses of chemotherapy. He believes this could actually rouse the cells by making them escape the hostile environment and consequently enter the bloodstream to find a new home. He wants to detect the cancer before it locates to a new home via liquid biopsies. This technology will put the patient’s blood sample through a biochip that will separate normal blood cells from cancer tumor cells. From there, practitioners can look at the genome sequencing to find the new mutation that made it resistant to the initial treatment, hopefully resulting in finding a new drug treatment plan.

Dr. Soon-Shiong’s phenomenal work gives lots of hope and optimism to the future of cancer.
To view the full 60 minutes segment, click here.

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