Ira Pastan, M.D.Co-Chief at National Cancer Institute
Ira Pastan is co-chief of the Laboratory of Molecular Biology at the National Cancer Institute. Pastan and colleagues have developed Recombinant Immunotoxins (RITs) for the treatment of cancer. RITs are composed of a single chain Fv or an Fab attached to the active portion of Pseudomonas exotoxin A. One of these, Moxetumomab pasudotox, is FDA approved for the treatment of drug resistant Hairy Cell Leukemia. Another (LMB-100 ) targets mesothelin, a protein discovered in the Pastan lab and found to be highly expressed in mesothelioma and about 30% of human cancers. LMB-100 causes immunogenic cell death and in mouse modes cooperates with anti-CTLA4 to induce anti-tumor immunity. LMB-100 given with check point inhibitors is in clinical trials for mesothelioma and pancreatic cancer.