Govind Ragupathi, PhD
Associate Attending Immunologist
2012-2013 BCRF Project(s):
Tumor Vaccinology Laboratory
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
New York, New York
Co-Investigator: Teresa Gilewski, MD,
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY
(The Weschester Women's Award)
Over the last year, Drs. Gilewski and Ragupathi have gained experience with the FDA approved Veridex, LLC CellSearch assay for detecting circulating tumor cells (CTC) in patients with a history of metastatic breast cancer and minimal disease. Circulating tumor cells were detected in only occasional patients. A new CTC assay has been developed at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center although it has not yet been used in breast cancer patients. However, in prostate cancer patients the new assay has shown greater sensitivity in detecting CTC than the currently used CellSearch assay and correlates with clinical outcome. Drs. Gilewski and Ragupathi will work with the new assay and assess its potential use for breast cancer patients.
In addition, this research team has prepared a clinical protocol to evaluate a new vaccine, which they developed with BCRF support, which targets six breast cancer antigens. In the coming year, they will assess the safety of the vaccine and its ability to stimulate an immune response. In addition, the impact of the vaccine on the number of CTCs will be measured by the two assays mentioned above.
Mid-year Progress: Drs. Gilewski and Ragupathi have made additional revisions to the protocol and are in the process of submission for approval. The protocol will assess a vaccine in patients with active metastatic breast cancer either alone or in combination with chemotherapy. The aim of the protocol is to evaluate for side effects, immune response and impact on circulating tumor cells (CTC) and clinical disease. Drs. Gilewski and Ragupathi are also performing further studies to evaluate the combination of chemotherapy with immunotherapy in laboratory models.
Dr. Govind Ragupathi is Associate Attending Immunologist and Associate Director of the Clinical Grade Production (CGP) facility at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. The focus of his research is the development of vaccines against various cancers and the development of more potent and less toxic therapies for cancer and infectious disease vaccines.
Dr. Ragupathi prepared and was involved in testing previous monovalent cancer vaccines in patients with breast cancer. He will prepare heptavalent breast cancer vaccine for use in a trial, sponsored by BCRF, designed to determine the impact of vaccination on number of circulating tumor cells in vaccinated patients.
Dr. Govind received his doctoral degree in biochemistry from the University of Madras. He completed a post-doctoral research fellowship at MSKCC and has published more than 70 peer-reviewed articles, chapters, and reviews.