Meet Dr. Jeffrey Leyton, recipient of a 2014 Banting Research Foundation Discovery Award and an Associate Professor at the Université de Sherbrooke – CHUS in the Department of Nuclear Medicine and Radiobiology in Canada. Dr. Leyton is a biochemist and a molecular biologist with a Ph.D. in Molecular and Medical Pharmacology from the University of California, Los Angeles.
Dr. Leyton’s research focuses on the development of novel subcellular transport technologies to modify and enhance the efficiency of intracellular placement and accumulation of cytotoxins delivered by antibody-drug conjugates (ADCs) in target tumor cells. He has been an award scholar of the American Association for Cancer Research and the Canadian Banting Research Foundation.
Dr. Leyton’s laboratory has made significant progress in the antibody-conjugate field by developing and patenting a technology that functionalizes antibodies, allowing them to overcome the mechanisms causing reduced drug accumulation. The technology is applied to improve the accumulation of radioisotopes, photosensitizers, and chemotherapeutics to more accurately identify and kill cancer cells.
One of Dr. Leyton’s research interests is developing IL-5Rα-specific probes that can deliver enhanced quantities of radionuclides inside migrating bladder cancer cells. Bladder cancer remains one of the most difficult cancers to manage, and the treatment options currently available to patients with muscle invasive bladder cancer have remained essentially unchanged. For patients with advanced or metastatic disease, bladder cancer is lethal within 2 years. Identifying and treating muscle invasive bladder cancer is the primary challenge, and specialized cells that become highly mobile cause tumor spread. Dr. Leyton’s research aims to generate anti-IL-5Rα probes that will accumulate sufficient amounts of suitable radionuclides that can be used to provide highly specific imaging of migrating bladder cancer cells or deliver lethal blows of radiation without causing harm to non-target tissue. This will greatly aid physicians in detecting and treating cases of muscle invasive bladder cancer.
Dr. Leyton’s multidisciplinary research involves chemistry, biology, and physics. His laboratory works on antibodies (functionalization – engineering), antibody conjugation chemistry (cargo attachment), endosome escape mechanism for antibodies, intracellular trafficking control, life science and health applications, and more.
In conclusion, Dr. Leyton’s research on antibody-conjugates and the development of IL5Rα-specific probes is paving the way for more accurate detection and treatment of cancer, especially in cases of muscle invasive bladder cancer. His multidisciplinary approach is breaking down barriers and bringing together various fields to solve complex health challenges.