Pivoting Cancer Genetic Research to Investigate COVID-19 Treatment

Johns Hopkins neurosurgeon Chetan Bettegowda talks about his research studying cancer immunotherapies and why, in some cases, they can enhance the immune system so much that they cause a cytokine storm and profound immune dysregulation. He and his team have identified that a catecholamine surge precedes and likely drives the immune dysregulation and cytokine storm, which can lead to pulmonary and end-organ dysfunction. Importantly, his team noted that alpha-adrenergic blockers, a class of FDA-approved drugs used to treat hypertension, can abrogate the catecholamine surge and prevent a cytokine storm. With the rise of COVID-19, Dr. Bettegowda started looking at how this line of investigation could play a role in the treatment of cytokine storms being seen in patients with COVID-19.


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Johns Hopkins Medicine

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Chetan Bettegowda, MD, PhD

Chetan Bettegowda, MD, PhD

Professor of Neurological Surgery

Director, Meningioma Center Professor of Neurosurgery   Languages: English, Kannada  Expertise: Brain Tumors, CyberKnife and stereotactic radiosurgery, Gliomas, Meningiomas, Metastatic Brain Tumors, Neurosurgery, Pituitary Tumors, Skull ...

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