Research Week: Three Questions for OHSU’s Evan Lind, Ph.D.

Research Week, a university-wide annual event celebrating research performed by students, faculty, research-ranked employees, postdocs and staff, launched today!

We’re marking the occasion by featuring a question-and-answer session with Evan Lind, Ph.D., an assistant professor of molecular microbiology and immunology with an appointment in the Department of Cell, Developmental and Cancer Biology and a researcher with the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.

Lind spoke with the OHSU School of Medicine about the importance of research relating to immunotherapies, which uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer, and the collaborative environment among researchers in the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.

Q. What’s been the most interesting development in your area in the last two years?

Dr. Lind: The last two years have been a boom time for my field of cancer immunotherapy. There have been nearly amazing clinical results from the use of so called “checkpoint inhibitors” in several cancer types. In 2013, immunotherapy was declared the “Breakthrough of the Year” by the journal Science. Things are happening so fast it is hard to keep up. The best part is that patients with previously untreatable cancers are responding and living longer.

Q. What projects are you currently working on?

Dr. Lind: I am currently studying the feasibility of applying immunotherapies to hematological malignancies, specifically the type of leukemia known as AML. The biology of the immune system in patients with AML is not well understood at this time.  Hopefully our work will identify possible immune-based therapies for this terrible disease.

Q. What is the most important aspect of support that OHSU provides to you currently and how would you like this or other support to grow in the future?

Dr. Lind: The biggest support I have had at OHSU is by far the collaborative environment that exists here. Without Drs. Jeff Tyner and Brian Druker, I would not be able to conduct my research in the same way.  I have only been at OHSU for one year and the support from my colleagues has been amazing. I think if we can keep this spirit of discovery and teamwork intact in the “post-Knight Challenge” era, this will be a unique and amazingly productive place to work.

Learn more about Dr. Lind and his research by reading a recap of a Twitter chat hosted by the National Cancer Institute this April. Lind was joined in the chat by Matthew Taylor, M.D., a physician with the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.

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This blog post originally appeared on OHSU’s internal “Inside the SOM” blog, authored by Rachel Shafer, Senior Communications Specialist in the OHSU School of Medicine.

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