How Clay Siegall increased the therapeutic window for cancer treatment

Modern medicine has seen the adoption of many agents that are often referred to as miracle drugs. Some of these include such drugs as morphine, penicillin, antiretroviral drugs and many others. Most of these drugs gained that reputation due to the fact that they are able to eliminate or dramatically reduce the symptoms of a disease or even eliminate the disease itself in its entirety. Such is the case for drugs like the polio vaccine.

But even though many modern drugs are not quite of the caliber where they would be considered miracle drugs, they nevertheless are extremely effective. Oftentimes, the only limiting factor to how effective a drug or a class of drugs can be is the adverse effects that quickly mount beyond certain dosage levels. One example of this is alcohol, one of the most commonly used drugs in the world today.

Long ago, someone who went in for surgery of any kind was likely to be given alcohol alone. While this may seem barbaric by modern standards, it actually turns out that alcohol is a superb anesthetic agent. However, enough alcohol to induce real anesthesia cannot be safely administered to any patient. The risk of alcohol poisoning and even death is extremely high at the dosage levels required to induce anesthesia in a patient.

The dosage amount that lies between the minimum level to induce clinical effects and the point at which side effects become so severe, on average, that the patient is likely to suffer a medically significant adverse outcome is known as the therapeutic window. This is a major consideration in the dosage of all drugs. But for some drugs, the therapeutic window is narrower than with others. These drugs, like morphine, lidocaine and many opioids, often end up being available only by prescription. This is because their administration needs to be done with exquisite precision, or the patient will risk overdosing and even death.

Clay Siegall has devised a way to radically increase the therapeutic window of chemotherapeutics agent. As a drug with one of the narrowest therapeutic windows of anything in medicine, chemotherapy drugs have long been severely limited by their adverse effects. With antibody drug conjugates, Dr. Siegall has created a way to deliver chemotherapeutic agents directly to the tumor site, dramatically increasing the dosages that can be safely administered at any one time.

Because of the high degree of effectiveness of chemotherapy, these new drugs promise to be highly effective treatments of all types of cancer.