Dr. Vikas P. Sukhatme
Our research efforts are centered primarily on cancer and are both pre-clinical and translational. One focus is on tumor metabolism. One hypothesis we are testing is whether reversing the Warburg effect will affect tumor cells preferentially. We are using both RNAi and pharmacologic inhibitors to approach this question with a focus on several genes involved in altering the fate of pyruvate (collaboration with P. Seth and others). Other studies center on an enzyme in the pentose phosphate pathway (collaboration with B. Chan) and on pathways that support the Krebs cycle. Yet others focus on inhibitors of fatty acid and cholesterol synthesis. A separate focus is in cancer immunology, where we are searching for drug combinations that alter several immunosuppressive mechanisms that tumors use to escape immune recognition and kill.
A particular interest is in defining novel markers for myeloid derived suppressor cells. We have also been cataloguing case reports of cancer remissions on protocols or drug regimens that are not considered standard of care. We are conducting pre-clinical studies to see if any of these therapies have a rationale and, if promising, we are committed to taking them to the clinic for patients with advanced cancer who have exhausted conventional options. In particular, we investigating drugs/therapies that are off patent or were never patented, hence making them unattractive to the pharmaceutical sector.
We are co-founders of a not-for-profit organization (GlobalCures) that will develop such therapies for human studies. We are especially interested in promoting drug combinations which have clear-cut mechanisms of action.