Over the last 30 years, one of the more exciting developments taking place within the cancer research field has been the development of a new class of drugs known as targeted cancer therapies. These drugs rely on various mechanisms to specifically target malignant tissues, thereby eliminating most of the worst side effects associated with older types of chemotherapy treatments.
No one has been more instrumental in this fight to create the next generation of cancer-fighting drugs than Clay Siegall. As the founder of Seattle Genetics, Dr. Siegall has been at the forefront in the development of a class of targeted cancer therapy drugs known as antibody drug conjugates. Today, Seattle Genetics is the only company in the world that is dedicated solely to the research, development and production of antibody drug conjugates, a category of drug that promises to virtually eliminate all negative side effects associated with older types of chemotherapeutic treatment regimens.
As a senior researcher for pharmaceutical giant Bristol-Myers Squibb, Dr. Siegall was in charge of leading his team in the development of new kinds of targeted cancer therapies. It was there that he first discovered a mechanism by which human antibodies could be synthesized then used as a delivery mechanism to bring highly lethal cytotoxic chemicals directly to the site of malignant tumors. This was a revolutionary breakthrough in the way that cancer-fighting drugs are created.
Through a long and arduous process of trial and error, Dr. Siegall was able to eventually find synthetic human antibodies that had the least allergenic effect on subjects. The synthetic antibodies were then bound to cytotoxic chemicals and released into the bloodstream of people suffering from various types of cancer. The antibodies were developed from real human immune systems, which create antibodies that are ineffective at fighting malignant tissues yet are extremely effective at targeting them.
Dr. Clay Siegall was therefore able to create the first form of drug that acted as a sort of heat-seeking missile against cancer. It took another 15 years for the first FDA-approved antibody drug conjugate to become widely available on the open market. Today, antibody drug conjugates are being used in an ever-widening scope, saving lives across the world.