James Olson, M.D., Ph.D. – Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
From Scorpions to Sunflowers: Using blueprints from nature to design cancer therapeutics
Harmony Hill Thought Leader Series
Thursday, June 17th at 5:30 via Zoom. Join us for this live talk followed by Q&A with Dr. Olson.
Dr. Olson’s lab discovered “Tumor Paint” by looking at how plants and animals create their own drugs to protect themselves. Dr. Olson and his team use these blueprints from nature to design cancer therapeutics with the fewest side effects. “My specific goals are that by the time I retire I can walk into the room of a family who has a cancer diagnosis, and offer them some real hope because of a drug that we discovered.”
BIO: Dr. James Olson discovers and develops promising new drugs for cancer patients, primarily children with brain cancer. He led the creation of “Tumor Paint,” an imaging agent derived from scorpion venom that illuminates cancer cells. Tumor Paint is designed to guide surgeons with precision as they identify and remove tumors with minimal damage to adjacent normal tissue.
Building on the success of Tumor Paint, Dr. Olson and his colleagues are now developing a new class of drugs called optides, short for “optimized peptides.” Unlike chemotherapies, which usually destroy healthy tissue alongside the cancerous cells they target, optides can zero in on cancer cells. Dr. Olson’s team is using naturally occurring molecules to engineer new optides that could fight many difficult-to-treat cancers, brain disorders and other diseases.
This event is offered at no charge.