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Welcome to the Empowered Patient Podcast with Karen Jagoda.  This show is a window into the latest innovations in applying generative AI, novel therapeutics and vaccines, and the changing dynamics in the medical and healthcare environment. One focus is on how providers, pharmaceutical companies, and payers are empowering patients.  In addition, conversations are often about how providers, care facilities, pharmaceutical companies, and payers are being empowered by technology to improve patient outcomes and reduce friction across the healthcare landscape.

Popular Topics

  • Virtual and digital health
  • Use of AI, ML, and LLM in healthcare and drug discovery, development, trials
  • Value-based healthcare 
  • Precision and stratified medicine
  • Integration of digital technology into existing workflow and procedures 
  • Next-generation immuno, cell, and gene therapies
  • Vaccines
  • Biomarkers, sequencing, and imaging
  • Rare diseases
  • MedTech and medical devices
  • Clinical trials
  • Addressing Social Determinants of Health
  • Treating chronic conditions like obesity and pain
  • Clinician and staff burnout

The audience includes life science leaders, researchers, medical professionals, patient advocates, digital health entrepreneurs, patients, caregivers, healthcare solution providers, students, journalists, and investors. 


Check out our new EmpoweredPatient.Solutions site where you can quickly search all of the Empowered Patient Podcast interviews by any word or phrase to identify useful resources, potential partners, and insights about the life sciences landscape.

Empowered Patient Solutions

May 23, 2024

Robert Towarnicki, CEO and Co-founder of SIRPant Immunotherapeutics, discusses cancer-specific immunotherapy for aggressive tumors, the role macrophages play in the immune response to cancer, and how cancer cells can shut down this response. SIRPant Immunotherapeutics aims to modify macrophages by reducing SIRPα expression, triggering them to eat cancer cells and educate other immune cells. Early evidence demonstrates potential effectiveness for various cancers, including non-Hodgkin's lymphoma and solid tumors. Robert emphasizes this therapy's scalability and cost advantages compared to other cell therapies like CAR-T. He also highlights the potential for treating rare diseases and the ability of SIRPant-M to target a wide range of cancers without the need for pre-identified targets.

Robert explains, "Macrophages are a normal immune cell type in your body. They normally function to recognize foreign invaders and process them in the sense of phagocytizing or eating the foreign protein and invader, if it's a virus, a bacteria, or a cancer. Unfortunately, cancers are very good at shutting down this immune response. So, we need to modify the macrophage and re-empower it to elicit the other immune cells in the body to do their job and eliminate cancer."

"I think one of the mistakes we've seen with others working with the macrophage in this situation was the lack of appreciation for the role of SIRPα. Our inventor, Dr. Yuan Liu at Georgia State University, identified this early on through a knockout mouse, a mouse where SIRPα was genetically removed from it. With that mouse, she could discover and learn how macrophages function and react. It directed us to the whole concept of removing SIRPα from the macrophage. Now, removal alone is not enough. You also have to activate a macrophage. So, a macrophage exists in multiple states. There's an active state, and then there's an inactive state."

#SIRPant #Immunotherapy #Macrophages #Oncology #Cancer

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SIRPant Immunotherapeutics