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Massey research member Swadesh K. Das elected as a National Academy of Inventors senior member

Oct 10, 2019


VCU Massey Cancer Center researcher Swadesh K. Das, Ph.D., was recently selected as a senior member of the National Academy of Inventors.

The National Academy of Inventors (NAI) is a nonprofit organization that enhances the visibility of academic technology and innovation as a means to ultimately benefit humanity. The NAI senior member program, which is distinct from the NAI Fellows Program, was launched in 2018 to “identify and recognize early stage innovators and inventors whose patents have the potential to bring real impact on society.”

This honor is national recognition of Das’ work that has led to patents, licensing and the commercialization of technologies. He is among 116 recognized members under this category nationally, and one of four senior NAI members at VCU. This membership will provide him access to a global network of top academic innovators and inventors, access to mentorship opportunities and allow him to serve on various NAI committees.

Das is a member of the Cancer Molecular Genetics research program at VCU Massey Cancer Center, assistant professor and graduate faculty in the Department of Human and Molecular Genetics at the VCU School of Medicine and member of VCU Institute of Molecular Medicine (VIMM). His research spans diversified yet overlapping areas of cancer biology, including molecular targeting, drug discovery and cancer diagnosis. He is a key author on many publications that have advanced scientific knowledge and contributed to the work of others. Das is actively collaborating with many Massey researchers, who are also members of VIMM, Massey’s Cancer Molecular Genetics research program and the Department of Human and Molecular Genetics at VCU School of Medicine, including Paul B. Fisher, M.Ph., Ph.D., F.N.A.I., the Thelma Newmeyer Corman Endowed Chair in Cancer Research; Luni Emdad, M.B.B.S., Ph.D.; Devanand Sarkar, M.B.B.S., Ph.D., associate director for education and training who holds the Harrison Foundation Distinguished Professorship in Cancer Research; Xiang-Yang Wang, Ph.D., who holds the Mary Anderson Harrison Distinguished Professorship in Cancer Research, and others.

Das’ inventions with Fisher focus on understanding cancer metastasis and developing targeted therapeutics. Currently, he is recognized as an inventor on five issued patents and six patent applications, which are currently under review. In addition, Das’ research work has generated numerous invention disclosures with strong potential for future patents. It is worth noting that he, Fisher and Maurizio Pellechia, Ph.D., of the University of California, Riverside, are credited with discovery of a new first-in-class, anti-invasive molecularly targeted small molecule. This molecule has strong potential to serve as an “anti-metastatic” drug targeting multiple cancer indications, and it is now being exclusively licensed to InVaMet Therapeutics (IVMT), Inc., a company co-founded by Fisher and Webster K. Cavenee, of the University of California San Diego. Currently, Das is leading a sponsored research agreement (SRA) between VCU and IVMT for defining new classes of PDZ inhibitors and seeking the most appropriate combinatorial therapeutic regimens for maximum potential clinical efficacy.

Overall, Das and his colleagues’ innovations cover both early diagnostic approaches and the development of anti-metastatic targeted molecules with potential to contribute to improving a patient’s quality of life. The technologies that he is working on have the potential to lead a paradigm shift in cancer therapy and how metastatic disease is clinically managed in the future.

Written by: John Wallace

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