Current Research Project
Dr. Kunwar's clinical research includes the development and institution of novel surgical-based therapies for the treatment of malignant gliomas. These strategies utilize tumor-targeted cytocidal proteins delivered through direct intracerebral microinfusion (convection-enhanced delivery), which bypasses the blood-brain barrier. His group's initial preclinical toxicity and distribution studies of one such compound, TP38, in nonhuman primates led to IND approval for a phase 1 study. A similar drug, IL13-PE38, and TP38, which are in phase 1 clinical trials at UCSF, represent a completely new method of tumor therapy using molecular targeting of tumor cells with direct delivery into the brain. To date, the group has treated eight patients with high-grade malignant tumors by using this molecular and regional targeting system. Early results indicate this to be a safe and effective method for drug delivery with some initial promising results. In the laboratory, in conjunction with Krys Bankiweicz PhD, he is exploring the delivery of other antitumor agents including immunoliposomes (with Dr. John Park) and viral particles into the brain. Studies in rodents and nonhuman primate models are underway in the hope of expanding the ability to selectively target tumor cells and deliver antitumor agents to regions of normal brain infiltrated with tumor.