Vamsidhar Velcheti, MD, FACP
Staff Physician, Hematology and Oncology; Associate Director, Center for Immuno-Oncology Research; Taussig Cancer Institute, Cleveland Clinic, USA
Lung cancer is the leading cause of cancer related mortality in the United States. Traditional cytotoxic treatments, the standard of care for decades, have modest to minimal impact on outcomes. Over the past decade our understanding of the genomic and immunologic heterogeneity of lung cancers has evolved dramatically, and immunotherapy is likely to be central to the therapy of lung cancers in the decades to come. Developing biomarkers for theranostic and molecular classification to define biological/immunological subsets of disease is critical in developing personalized treatment strategies that maximize the potential benefit from immunotherapies. Thus, my research focus is to develop reproducible diagnostic assays using novel quantitative platforms, to identify predictive biomarkers and targets for novel immunotherapy. Central to maximizing the potential benefits of immunotherapy is to address the prevalent problem of immune evasion in lung cancer. One of my main focus of clinical research is to advancing agents that reverse immune evasion, and I am investigating in clinic trials several potential combinations and novel agents including, several cytokines and non-cytotoxic epigenetic drugs, directly interdicting the key elements in immune evasion while sparing host immunity.