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A Medical Researcher Shifts His Focus to COVID-19

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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.

Rich Fisher passed through KWGS about thirty years ago, and just never left. Today, he is the general manager of Public Radio Tulsa, and the host of KWGS’s public affairs program, StudioTulsa, which celebrated its twentieth anniversary in August 2012 . As host of StudioTulsa, Rich has conducted roughly four thousand long-form interviews with local, national, and international figures in the arts, humanities, sciences, and government. Very few interviews have gone smoothly. Despite this, he has been honored for his work by several organizations including the Governor's Arts Award for Media by the State Arts Council, a Harwelden Award from the Arts & Humanities Council of Tulsa, and was named one of the “99 Great Things About Oklahoma” in 2000 by Oklahoma Today magazine.
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