Lalit Kumar

All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi

Lalit Kumar is currently professor and head of Medical Oncology at AIIMS, New Delhi. He has played a leadership role in the development of cost-effective stem cell transplantation programme at AIIMS. His group has made seminal contributions to the field of gynecologic oncology and multiple myeloma. Kumar has published more than 350 research papers in national and international journals. He is a Fellow of the Indian Academy of Sciences (2010), and National Academy of Medical Sciences, New Delhi. He is a recipient of ICMR Novartis Oration award, Dr BC Roy National Award, and Ranbaxy Science Foundation Award (2007). Kumar was conferred with Padma Shri by the President of India in 2014.

Lalit Kumar

Session 3C: Special Lecture

Chairperson: S S Krishnamurthy, Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru

Targeted therapy for cancer treatment: Have we found the magic bullet!

With the development of newer techniques and better understanding of the Biology of cancer cells, in the past two decades, a number of new drugs or molecules have been developed. These are small molecules and monoclonal antibodies that are more specific and are called targeted therapy. They block the molecular abnormality or target(s) in the cancer cells and stop its further growth. A number of monoclonal antibodies have also been developed in the past few years which can selectively kill/ block the cancer cells. More recently, research into the tumour microenvironment and T-cell-mediated downregulation of anti-tumour immunity has led to the development of antibody-based interventions by targeting immune checkpoints such as programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) on T lymphocytes and its principal ligand (PD-L1) on tumour cells. This is the most exciting development in the field of Oncology and Immunology. Contrary to traditional cytotoxic chemotherapy, these novel molecules are devoid of toxicities like – alopecia, nausea/vomiting. However, these new molecules have unique side effects, e.g., fatigue is common, other side effects, e.g., hypertension, skin toxicity, and diarrhoea also may occur in some patients. Some patients have also developed resistance after an initial response. The speaker will discuss the initial experience of treating patients with advanced cancer or those who have failed chemotherapy and/or radiation with these novel molecules. The talk will also include specifics of current investigations on how to combine or sequence these novel agents (anti-angiogenic agents, immune-checkpoint inhibitors, etc.) with cytotoxic chemotherapy or radiation in the treatment scheme.

© 2017 Indian Academy of Sciences, Bengaluru.