Assistant Professor, UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy; Founder, Falcon Therapeutics
Shawn Hingtgen is an assistant professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy and is also the founder of Falcon Therapeutics, a company developing personalized neural stem cell therapies to treat glioblastoma. Due to their expansive utility, stem cell-based therapies hold the potential to redefine therapeutic approaches and provide cures for many terminal diseases. Hingtgen’s lab seeks to harness the potential of stem cells to develop new and better methods for treating terminal cancers, including brain cancer. It uses an integrative approach that begins with creating specially designed targeted therapeutic proteins. His lab then “arms” different stem cell types with the anti-cancer molecules, and investigates the ability of stem cell-based therapies to improve both drug delivery and cancer cell killing using various small animal models of human brain cancer. Central to Hingtgen’s research is the extensive integration of non-invasive imaging. This approach involves using multiple imaging modalities to provide real-time dynamic feedback on stem cell and tumor cell volumes and distribution, pharmacokinetics of drug delivery, and the overall effectiveness of therapeutic approaches. By bringing together the tools and techniques of molecular biology, viral vectors, targeted therapeutics, stem cell biology, and molecular imaging with highly translatable animal models, Hingtgen hopes to ultimately bring successful cell-based treatments for brain tumors into the clinics.