Dr. Ismael Samudio is a Senior Scientist in CDRD’s Biologics Division and Acting Division Head. He obtained his PhD in genetics from Texas A&M University (2002), where he investigated the mechanisms of non-canonical estrogen receptor signaling in breast cancer cells, with particular interest in chromatin remodeling and estrogen receptor/Sp1 interactions. After postdoctoral training at the Institute of Biotechnology in Houston, Ismael joined the Section of Molecular Hematology at MD Anderson Cancer Center in 2004 as a Research Scientist where he led investigations on the antileukemic and antitumor effects of synthetic triterpenoids, guggulipids, bcl-2 inhibitors, targeted peptides, p53 activators and kinase inhibitors. In 2007 he was promoted to Research Instructor in the Department of Stem Cell Transplantation and Cellular Therapy at MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he made the seminal discoveries that mitochondrial uncoupling was the basis for the observed Warburg effect in leukemia cells, and that pharmacological inhibition of fatty acid oxidation was an effective therapeutic strategy to sensitize leukemia stem cells to chemotherapy induced cell death. In addition, in collaboration with Dr. Michael Andreeff and Dr. Frank Marini, he demonstrated the therapeutic efficacy of gene-modified mesenchymal stromal cells in animal models of pancreatic and ovarian cancer.
In 2009 Dr. Samudio joined Pontifical Javeriana University in his home country of Colombia as an Associate Professor where he continued to pursue metabolic strategies for the treatment of human cancer, including a compassionate use study of the antidiabetic agent metformin in combination with metronomic chemotherapy that revealed a potential immunomodulatory effect of metformin in advanced cancer patients. In 2013 Ismael joined the laboratory of Gerry Krystal at the BC Cancer Agency to receive postdoctoral training in immunotherapy, where he discovered that Herpes virus Simplex-1 is a potent activator of NK function and can be an adjuvant in the setting of bone marrow transplantation for the treatment of leukemia.
In 2015 Ismael joined CDRD as an Immunotherapy Scientist where he participated in the development of various immunotherapy platforms, including a novel targeting arm for CAR-T cells that can potentially enable therapeutic efficacy against various solid tumors. In 2016 Ismael became Senior Scientist and Acting Head of Biologics. Ismael has published over 60 peer reviewed articles and various book chapters on the use of small molecules, cellular therapeutics, and immunotherapy strategies for the treatment of cancer, and is a leading expert on tumor metabolism.