His name may not ring a bell to many of us but in the medical and pharmaceutical fields, Dr. David Sidransky is one of the most respected doctors especially in the early detection of cancer. He once graced the pages of Time Magazine acknowledging him as one of the top physicians and scientists in the United States of America.
For someone to devote his life into something that is not even for himself but for the good of other people and the industry he is a part of, it takes a lot of passion, interest and strong will.
Sidransky’s desire to discover and develop a new and better treatment for cancer started when he was just in the medical school. “I started doing all this probably in college where I started doing research. And when I got into medical school, I went specifically into a commission science program,” Sidransky said.
After gaining his degree he put up his own laboratory and never stopped his research, “When I was training for oncology I started my own lab to specifically find new treatments or better ways of predicting, which drugs work better on patients.”
Since 1994, Dr. Sidransky has been the Director of the Head and Neck Cancer Research Division at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Professor of Oncology, Otolaryngology, Cellular & Molecular Medicine, Urology, Genetics, and Pathology at John Hopkins University and Hospital.
He is also one of the most highly cited researchers in clinical and medical journals in the world, in the field of oncology during the past decade, with over 300 peer-reviewed publications. He has contributed more than 40 cancer reviews and chapters. Sidransky is a founder of a number of biotechnology companies and holds numerous biotechnology patents.
Sidransky is the recipient of a number of awards and honors, including the 1997 Sarstedt International Prize from the German Society of Clinical Chemistry, the 1998 Alton Ochsner Award Relating Smoking and Health by the American College of Chest Physicians, and the 2004 Richard and Hinda Rosenthal Award from the American Association of Cancer Research.
Described as “a creative, out-of-the box thinker with wide-ranging academic and business background and extensive contacts with the pharmaceutical industry, academia and government,” Sidransky is undeniably a very valuable asset to every company he’s worked with.
In 2007, he was appointed as the Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Champions Oncology Inc. Champions Oncology was founded by some of the world’s most renowned specialists in the field of cancer diagnosis, treatment and research. Its team comprises seasoned oncology professionals passionately dedicated to accelerating oncology drug development, improving outcomes and extending lives with Personalized Oncology Solutions.
Champions Oncology recently partnered with Parkway Cancer Centre in Singapore to make Champions TumorGrafts® accessible to cancer patients at its three facilities in Singapore and network locations throughout South East Asia.
TumorGraft is a personalized approach (developed by Champions Oncology) to guide treatment decisions for cancer patients providing a highly focused, accelerated translational platform. With this technology, a sample of living tumor lifted from a cancer patient will be implanted to several immune-deficient mice, allowing the tumor to grow inside its new hosts but preserves the biological characteristics of the original human tumor.
When the tumor has already grown, oncologist will now test several drugs to treat the tumor and measures the response of each host (models) to the treatment it received.
With this technology, Sidransky said Champions Oncology envisions itself to become the company that can make patients and the right drugs work together. “So it’s not just about the models, the models are important part that helps bring new drugs to patients and pick the right drugs for the patients…we will bring different technologies and different things to make it more attractive for the patients and the pharmaceutical industry. We have a great technology but it is just one piece of the puzzle, and we want to put many pieces together to make an avenue where the patients and the drugs meet up.”
According to Sidransky many pharmaceutical companies come to them because of the efficacy and good outcome of TumorGraft. “The ‘value’ of our models is so much now, a lot of companies that develop new drugs come to us and test the drugs to our models.”
However, the cure for cancer is still a question that doesn’t have a straight and specific answer. “The problem with cancer is it’s hundreds of different diseases. We have several types of cancer that are almost completely curable. Breast cancer is almost curable and prostate cancer is almost curable, so it’s like a battle that we have to win one at a time,” Sidransky noted.
TumorGraft, according to Sidransky is the first step toward better and faster remedy for cancer and being a part of a company that has been paving the way to more efficient and effective medications for cancer Champions Oncology is planning to build a tumor bank with at least 5,000 to 10,000 tumors, which they can study.
“If we have this bank and have studied all the tumors in it, it will lessen the laboratory time spent testing the mice, thus, giving more time to test the drugs that will work better and faster.”
With his efforts together with the rest of the experts from Champions Oncology and Parkway Cancer Centre, Sidransky is optimistic that the battle against cancer will be easier.
“We will win the battle one at a time. We are on the way of making small step and this is one step to get better.”