Ep. 3: “We are in the trenches with you”–With Guest Dr. Priya Kumthekar. 

Ep. 3: “We are in the trenches with you”–With Guest Dr. Priya Kumthekar. 


            Clinical trials are a key research tool for advancing medical knowledge and patient care. Clinical research is done only if doctors do not know whether a new approach works well in people and is safe, and which treatments or strategies work best for certain illnesses or groups of people. Without clinical trials, studies, and translational science, many of the advancements we have today for treating cancer and other diseases like heart disease, Alzheimer’s, etc. wouldn’t exist.

Dr. Kumthekar is an Associate Professor of Neuro-oncology and Medicine (Hematology and Oncology) at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine. She is dedicated to patient care and moving the field of brain tumors forward primarily through her leadership on clinical trials. Dr. Kumthekar is actively involved in the NCI funded clinical trials, and is heavily involved with the Alliance for Clinical Trials (Alliance). In 2016, she was appointed as the national Executive Officer of Neuro-Oncology at the Alliance. She is also a Neuro-Onc Committee Chair on “Synapse” Communications, American Academy of Neurology, a member of Brain and Spinal Cord Expert Panel, American Joint Committee on Cancer, and Co-chair, WiN, Society of Neuro-Oncology.

Currently, Dr. Kumthekar is involved in and leads many clinical trials including a phase-0 study she is the principal investigator on that is proving to move the needle forward in how brain cancer such as glioblastoma (GBM) is treated. In the past decade, no new drugs have been approved for the fatal brain cancer. But the scientists at Northwestern, led by Dr. Kumthekar, are eager to change that with the drug, NU-0129, designed at Northwestern. An early clinical study found that the spherical nucleic acid drug (NU-0129) kills tumor cells in people with GBM. This is the first time a nanotherapeutic has been shown to cross the blood-brain barrier and causes cell death.

Resources from Ep. 3:


Clinical Trials

Shireman JM, Atashi F, Lee G, Ali ES, Saathoff MR, Park CH, Savchuk S, Baisiwala S, Miska J, Lesniak MS, James CD, Stupp R, Kumthekar P, Horbinski CM, Ben-Sahra I, Ahmed AU
Brain. 2021 May; 144(4): 1230-1246.
PMID: 33855339
Kumthekar P, Ko CH, Paunesku T, Dixit K, Sonabend AM, Bloch O, Tate M, Schwartz M, Zuckerman L, Lezon R, Lukas RV, Jovanovic B, McCortney K, Colman H, Chen S, Lai B, Antipova O, Deng J, Li L, Tommasini-Ghelfi S, Hurley LA, Unruh D, Sharma NV, Kandpal M, Kouri FM, Davuluri RV, Brat DJ, Muzzio M, Glass M, Vijayakumar V, Heidel J, Giles FJ, Adams AK, James CD, Woloschak GE, Horbinski C, Stegh AH
Sci Transl Med. 2021 Mar; 13(584):
PMID: 33692132


For more resources mentioned in this episode visit: brainsforthecure.org

Hosted by Shannon Traphagen 

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