Clay Siegall turns monoclonal antibodies into nuclear weapon in war on cancer

The history of warfare has been little more than a protracted arms race. When one enemy develops a new weapon or tactic, it is quickly adopted by many across the globe. But one of the most formidable weapons to have ever graced the battlefield is still the nuclear bomb. So formidable is this weapon that it has become one of the chief metaphors for absolute and total destruction.

At the same time, the very real war that has been occurring against disease since the dawn of medicine has given rise to the search for its own nuclear weapons. Nowhere has this been truer than in the fight against cancer. Now, it is possible that the atomic bomb that will finally put an end to the war that cancer has waged on humans since the beginning of time has been found.

Clay Siegall is one of the most important cancer researchers in the nation today. He has spent more than 30 years dedicating his life to the discovery and development of new forms of cancer treatments, particularly in the field of targeted cancer therapies. As a senior researcher at Bristol-Myers Squibb throughout the 1990s, Dr. Siegall was one of the first people to work on a targeted cancer therapy known as antibody drug conjugates. In fact, it was Dr. Siegall who coined the name of this revolutionary form of cancer therapy.

As the 1990s pressed on, Dr. Siegall saw that this new form of cancer treatment had the potential to be game-changing. He felt that he was not getting the level of support necessary to get this new treatment out to the public and begin saving lives. As a result, in 1998, he took the huge leap of faith that separates true entrepreneurs from the rest of the crowd and founded his own company. Known as Seattle Genetics, it is the first company that is fully dedicated to the development and marketing of antibody drug conjugates.

Today, Seattle Genetics has more than 12 drugs in the development pipeline and has the patent on the first FDA-approved antibody drug conjugate in history, ADCetris. ADCetris is currently approved as a second-line treatment for refractory non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and it has been credited with saving thousands of lives across the country.