Oncology Times featured Luis Malpica Castillo, MD, an o
Oncology Times featured Luis Malpica Castillo, MD, an oncology and hematology fellow in the UNC Department of Medicine.
Here’s an excerpt:
An oncologist who has already distinguished himself with award-winning research, [Castillo] came from humble beginnings in Tumbes, a very small city in northwestern Peru. “It is one of the poorer cities in the country,” he said. His interest in medicine was first inspired by his father who, as early as the age of 7, wanted to be a physician. “He was an orphan, but he made his dreams come true and eventually became an orthopedic surgeon.” His father met his mother, a nurse, while they were both doing rural service, which is mandatory in Peru. Eventually they settled in Tumbes because it was in such dire need of physicians and health care providers.
Castillo has found his life’s work at the intersection of cancer and infectious diseases. As both clinician and researcher, he is trying to red-light the devastatingly swift and fatal effects of an ancient virus called human T-cell leukemia virus type 1 (HTLV-1) when it encourages the emergence of adult T-cell leukemia/lymphoma (ATLL) in infected patients. HTLV-1 is a retrovirus in the same family as HIV. “The difference is that HIV will kill all the CD4 cells. But this virus, instead of killing them, immortalizes T cells. And when you have too many inactive, immortalized T cells lying around, they become a risk for developing leukemia or lymphoma,” warned [Castillo].