Chris Duke: fighting the battle against cervical cancer.

Author:Osborn, Eliana
Position:HEALTH FEATURE
 
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Annually, more than 500,00 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer globally and at any time, there are approximately 2.5M women living with the disease. Despite the availability of vaccines against HPV which make HPV-related cancers almost entirely preventable, more than 13,000 women in the US alone are diagnosed annually with cervical cancer and 4,200 women will succumb to the disease. The incidence of cervical cancer for Latina women in the United States is highest amongst all racial/ethnic groups, almost twice as high as non-Latina white women. In addition, Latina women have the 2nd highest mortality rate from cervical cancer (after black women), although mortality for Latina women is higher than black women in communities along the Texas-Mexico border.

Why is the rate of cervical cancer so high for Latinas? Unfortunately, there is a low rate of vaccination rates and cervical cancer screening in the Latina community due to a combination of factors, including fear associated with a lack of immigration status, embarrassment, lack of knowledge, lack of insurance and lack of English proficiency. As a result, in 2015, 2,000 Hispanic women were diagnosed and 600 died.

There has been little to no drug development in recent years in cervical cancer in part due to the relatively low number of cases compared to other cancer types and because of the expectation that vaccination against HPV would essentially eradicate the disease. In the last 30 years, there has only been 1 drug approved by the Food & Drug Administration to treat cervical cancer. In the meantime, women continue to die from the disease. This doesn't need to happen, and Chris Duke is leading the fight to eradicate this disease once and for all.

Duke has only been at Advaxis since October 2016, but his career in the biotechnology industry started years earlier. After receiving a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Chemical Engineering from Rutgers University, he went on to earn an MBA from the Wharton School of Business and a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. His current role as the Chief Operating Officer at Advaxis finds him combining all sides of his educational background while working for a company committed to finding a cure for cancer. Duke explains that his passion is focused on the patients that Advaxis treatments can help, saying ""Millions of women and their loved ones are currently struggling with cervical...

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