Seattle Genetics and Clay Siegall demonstrate unique approach to precision medicine

There are many different forms of precision medicine. The number of drugs, treatments and protocols that broadly fall under this category is very large. Some forms of precision medicine rely on genetics and the underlying structure of the molecules that comprise the body. This is a new and ongoing field of development, with many exciting leaps forward taking place every day.

But another form of precision medicine seeks to deal organically with disease using the body’s own defenses, in slightly modified form, to fight off a wide range of illnesses. One area in which this type of precision medicine has been under development for a number of decades is in the category of drugs and treatment protocols broadly referred to as targeted cancer therapies. These include a large number of different underlying principles and an even larger number of implementations. But the category of targeted cancer therapies can be drawn into two sub-categories. The first is known as cytostatic treatments. These are generally a class of drugs which seeks to prevent further growth of any malignant tumor. They do this by a number of means, mostly concentrating on inhibiting the ability of cells to reproduce. This results in a stasis in the growth of the malignancy.

The other categorical form of targeted cancer therapy is known as cytotoxic therapies. These are generally classes of drugs that seek to kill all cells within the malignancy, usually through a means of specifically homing in on the cancerous cells, while leaving all other cells unmolested.

For over three decades, Clay Siegall has been one of the leading global experts on this latter form of targeted cancer therapies. As one of the main figures behind the development of what are known as antibody drug conjugates, he has overseen the development of this class of drugs from the nascent stage, where it was little more than an idea, to a billion-dollar global industry, saving thousands of lives per year and adding significantly to the five-year survival rates in a number of subtypes of cancer.