George P. Kim, MD
Since relocating to Washington, DC, George P. Kim, MD has taken over the Gastrointestinal Cancer Group at George Washington University Cancer Center, within which active areas of investigation include genomic disparities between African Americans with hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the incidence of HIV-associated cancer, and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy in solid tumors.
For example, investigators are evaluating the clinical and molecular characteristics of African-American patients with HCC to determine whether core differences exist between ethnic groups that may require more individualized treatment approaches. For this opportunity for personalized medicine to become a reality would be very gratifying, explained Kim, especially now that there are 6 FDA-approved agents in the field.
Moreover, investigators are recommending more patients with HIV-associated cancers for clinical trials with immunotherapy combinations to assess the safety and curative potential of those strategies. Given the high incidence of HIV-associated cancers in Washington, DC, Kim also called for better screening standardization to better identify individuals who are at greatest risk.
Finally, research with CAR T cells designed to target solid tumors is beginning to gain traction in the field. Soon, George Washington University, in partnership with the Children’s National Main Hospital, will open its first clinical trial of CAR T-cell therapy for patients with solid tumors.
“Certainly, it would be tremendous if the work that's done here can go back and affect larger populations on a global scale,” said Kim. Although, much of this work is preliminary, he added.
In an interview during the 2019 OncLive®
State of the Science Summit™ on Gastrointestinal Cancers, Kim, director, Gastrointestinal Oncology Section, George Washington University Cancer Center, associate professor of medicine, George Washington University Medical Faculty Associates, discussed these areas of active investigation in the Washington, DC, area.
OncLive®: What research are you currently working on in the gastrointestinal (GI) cancers space?
: I've recently relocated back to Washington, DC, which is my home, and I am heading the Gastrointestinal Cancer Group at George Washington University Cancer Center. Washington, DC, is a very unique area to practice. I'm learning a lot about the different patients that we have. One of the areas that we have excellent research in is HCC. There are certain populations here, in the city, [of people who come] from different parts of the world. This is a major center, so we see many African immigrants who develop cancer.
We are looking at those individuals and their cancers on a clinical and molecular level to try to understand how [their cancers may] differ or are similar to those that we see here in the United States. We are also looking at how that translates into treatment [approaches], especially with all of the new treatments that have emerged in HCC. That's very exciting.
What other populations do you see here in Washington DC?
Unfortunately, we see a lot of patients with HIV disease here in Washington, DC. We treat a lot of those types of malignancies, certainly the hematologic malignancies. We're also seeing a lot of anal cancer. The good news is that we're seeing them early. We want to participate in trials that are using combined modality therapy that are adding on checkpoint inhibitors or immunotherapies to determine whether it's safe and whether it helps in curing more of these individuals. We also need to do a better job of screening and finding out who is at risk in this general population.