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Mariava Phillips
February 7, 2024

Associate Professor Carter Cao, Ph.D., in the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy’s Division of Pharmacotherapy and Experimental Therapeutics, is harnessing the power of quantitative systems pharmacology (QSP) and cutting-edge computational modeling and simulation tools to understand how antibody-based treatments interact among diverse biological contexts. 

Cao’s research looks at the dynamics and mechanisms of the immune system in response to the constantly evolving diseases in our world.  

Using QSP, computational modeling and simulation tools will provide multi-dimensional data that navigates the body’s dynamic physiology. It will study how each immune system, diseases and antibodies interact with each other, with the hope to figure out why some people get better with treatment and others don’t.  

“Our ultimate goal is to make these treatments better and work for more people,” he said. 

Cao leads a dynamic and diverse team of experts working in QSP and model-informed drug discovery and development, with a focus on antibody-based therapeutics. His research was recently awarded a $2 million Maximizing Investigators’ Research Award (MIRA) from the National Institutes of Health/National Insititute of General Medical Sciences (NIGMS). 

“In our latest research, generously funded by NIGMS, we’re delving into the world of antibody-based treatments—modern medicine’s go-to for cancer and autoimmune diseases,” said Cao. “With over 100 such drugs approved, why do they work wonders for some patients but not all? We believe the answer lies in the complex biological and physiological environments of our body, a puzzle that not all antibodies can solve.” 

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