Dr. Eric Padron is a junior investigator, having completed his fellowship in hematology/oncology at the Moffitt Cancer Center in Florida. He describes his area of interest in bone marrow failure disease as focused on Chronic Myelomonocytic Leukemia (CMML), which is related to Myelodysplastic Syndromes (MDS).
Although he looks forward to his weekly clinic day when he is able to see patients with MDS, he also notes that the two year fellowship he received through the Edward P. Evans Foundation was invaluable in allowing him to protect some of his time from other clinical duties, and focus on his research.
In collaboration with his mentors Drs. Alan List and Rami Komrokji, he has developed an interest in working with existing pharmaceutical compounds to evaluate their effectiveness for bone marrow failure disorders. A trial underway now at Moffitt and other institutions in the MDS Clinical Research Consortium is a study to determine whether the drug Ruxolitinib, which is currently approved by the FDA for treatment of myelofibrosis, might also work in CMML. Although it's still early in the research, results with the first few patients look promising.
Other work Dr. Padron is pursuing involves the SRSF2 mutation that can occur in MDS and may be related to progression to other diseases. The research underway examines the ability of an existing compound in development to destroy leukemic cells through targeting the cell's RNA. Positive results from these studies would be a benefit to patients in reducing the symptoms of bone marrow failure diseases, in particular the constitutional symptoms that can distress patients, including enlarged spleen, weight loss and fevers.
Dr. Padron reiterated his appreciation of the funding that made it possible for him to focus on his research and make significant progress early in his career. He noted that biotechnology research is one of the more expensive activities there is in the medical-scientific community, and that funding is essential to the ability to pursue innovative lines of research with potentially significant clinical benefits.