Patricia Lawman Develops Novel Cell and Gene Therapies to Fight Cancer (Doctor Gator)

Patricia Lawman Develops Novel Cell and Gene Therapies to Fight Cancer

Patricia Lawman is on a mission to change the future of cancer care. After losing her parents to lung cancer and lymphoma, respectively, she recognized the detrimental impact of radiation and chemotherapy. She knew there must be a way to treat a patient’s cancer without the risk of toxicity and other negative side effects.

After decades of work in molecular biology, Lawman, CEO and co-founder of the Tampa-based clinical-stage company Morphogenesis, Inc., a UF startup and UF Innovate | Sid Martin Biotech alum, has engineered a treatment harnessing the power of the immune system to recognize and fight cancers. Lawman’s therapy, ImmuneFx, is an immunomodulator that is injected directly into a tumor, activating the immune system to target and destroy tumor cells.

“The immune system is quite capable of killing cancer cells — it’s just hard to distinguish cancer cells from normal cells,” she says. “We take a single bacterial gene and put it in the tumor cells. That gene is expressed on the surface of the tumor cells, like a big red flag that the immune system cannot ignore.”

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