Investigation of a Pill to Improve Gut Bacteria and Boost Kidney Cancer Immunotherapy

Dr. Sumanta (“Monty”) Pal, Professor, Department of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research; Co-director, Kidney Cancer Program at City of Hope, a cancer research and treatment organization, discusses a recent ph 1 study published in “Nature Medicine” (28 Feb 22) that links enhanced anti-tumor response in kidney cancer patients with treatment using both immunotherapy and a live biotherapeutic product that adjusts gut bacteria or the microbiome. Fecal matter transplants appear to have promise and have gained some news traction in recent years, but it is an arduous process and appears to come with riskier side effects than a bacterial product that can be taken orally, which is a technique this study investigates. 

Sumanta (Monty) Kumar Pal, M.D., is an internationally recognized leader in the area of genitourinary cancers, including kidney, bladder, and prostate cancer. He is co-director of City of Hope’s Kidney Cancer Program and is the head of the kidney and bladder cancer disease team at the institution.

Dr. Pal entered college at the age of 13 and began medical school at University of California Los Angeles at the age of 17. After completing his residency training at UCLA, Dr. Pal completed a fellowship program in medical oncology at City of Hope’s comprehensive cancer center where he has remained on faculty since 2009.

Over that span of time, he has published more than 350 PubMed cited articles that have been featured in prominent journals including Cancer Discovery, The Journal of Clinical Oncology, The Lancet, Cancer Cell and European Urology.

Dr. Pal holds patents for new drugs currently under development in prostate cancer and also maintains one of the largest portfolios of clinical trials for kidney and bladder cancer research on the West Coast. He developed an integrated program that focuses heavily on collaborations with basic science researchers at the Beckman Research Institute of City of Hope and urologists in the Department of Surgery. Ultimately, Dr. Pal’s goal is to stimulate collaborative research across multiple departments in order to discover novel therapeutic approaches for currently incurable diseases. He has also worked to push the boundaries of personalized medicine in genitourinary cancers with several seminal publications in rare genitourinary cancers that describe unique therapeutic targets. He is the lead investigator on multiple trials, ranging from early phase 1 experiences to late stage phase 3 studies.

Dr. Pal sits on the editorial board for Kidney Cancer and is a reviewer for multiple journals including The Lancet, The Journal of Clinical Oncology, The Journal of Urology, European Urology, New England Journal of Medicine and many others. Dr. Pal has received grants from the National Institute of Health, the Comprehensive Cancer Network, SWOG Cancer Research Network and multiple other leading entities in support of his formidable research.

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