Meet Clay Siegall, the genius behind antibody drug conjugates

One of the most innovative areas in cancer research, in the last few decades, has been the advent of targeted cancer therapies. This term broadly refers to a class of drugs that use various means of specifically targeting malignant tissues, rather than systemically releasing large amounts of cytotoxins into the patient’s system. These drugs have allowed for the treatment of various types of cancers, without the horrendous side effects of traditional chemotherapeutic regimes.

No single person stands larger in the world of targeted cancer therapy then Clay Siegall. After having founded Seattle Genetics, a pharmaceutical company dedicated to the research and development of a class of targeted therapies known as antibody drug conjugates, Dr. Siegall has gone on to prove his acumen both in the field of business and as a bona fide giant of the medical research field. Through his development of antibody drug conjugates, a form of targeted cancer therapy that uses human-like antibodies as the means to deliver lethal cytotoxins directly to the surface of the malignancy, Dr. Siegall has been able to radically extend the life expectancies of those patients suffering from certain types of cancer.

One of the areas in which Dr. Siegall has demonstrated that the concept of antibody drug conjugates is a viable and effective means of treating cancer is for the disease non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Like many types of cancer, this disease has seen almost complete stagnation in research efforts since the 1970s. The survivability rates of the disease, while generally high for being a form of cancer, had not materially improved for more than 30 years. But after Dr. Siegall led Seattle Genetics to develop a novel form of antibody drug conjugate, which specifically targeted non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma tumors, the life expectancy for those suffering from the disease has steadily risen.

What’s more, for those patients for whom being administered the drug ADCetris, Seattle Genetics’ antibody drug conjugate for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, is indicated, the side effects of traditional chemotherapies are almost completely absent. This means that not only can patients receiving ADCetris expect to live nearly as long as those without the disease, but they do not have to endure the terrible effects of traditional chemotherapy.