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A Medical Researcher Shifts His Focus to COVID-19

Aired Tuesday, May 5, 2020

On this edition of StudioTulsa, we meet immunologist Dr Eric Fajgenbaum, a researcher on the fairly rare disorder, Castleman's Disease. A survivor of this lymphatic condition himself, Fajgenbaum has devoted his work to discover how FDA-approved drugs can be repurposed to effectively fight Castleman's. 

A key similarity between Castleman Disease and COVID-19 is the cytokine storms that can occur with the most severe cases, where the patient's immune system attacks vital organs along with the virus. As a result, Fajgenbaum has shifted the focus of his University of Pennsylvania research lab and the Castleman Disease Collaborative Network (CDCN) from looking for drugs that can work on Castleman's to drugs that can control this cytokine surge with COVID-19. 

Dr Fajgenbaum is the author of "Chasing My Cure: A Doctor's Race to Turn Hope into Action," and is the co-founder of the CDCN. He joins us to discuss their work against COVID-19 and the work by others to find therapies and drugs that will reduce the mortality rate against COVID-19.

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