Dr. Richard Lutes: Helping Meet Unmet Needs

Richard Lutes, physician spotlightDr. Richard Lutes, MD, can trace his passion for medicine back to his childhood, when his mother, a nurse, inspired him to help others in need. This was a motivating factor in his work as a Battalion Surgeon in the Vietnam War, as well as during his years in clinical practice in Connecticut at St Mary’s Hospital Oncology Unit and Waterbury Hospital and as an adjunct professor at the University of Connecticut and Yale University.  This drive has remained with him through an extensive industry career and now his present position with Novella Clinical.  As a Senior Medical Director in hematology and oncology, Dr. Lutes helps to facilitate nearly every aspect of clinical development services at Novella. He provides scientific input to clinical research programs, reviews protocols, helps to develop criteria for site selection and patient recruitment, and monitors data and safety to ensure that hematology/oncology clinical trials run smoothly and safely. At Novella, he is working with his colleagues and industry to help advance medicine and improve quality of life.

Dr. Lutes brings more than four decades of experience in hematology and oncology, through which he has gained expertise in medical monitoring, drug safety, pharmacovigilance, biomarker research, and cancer drug development. He began his industry career in Bayer Pharmaceutical’s Biotechnology Division, where he worked in the fields of immunotherapy, coagulation in cancer and angiogenesis. After leaving Bayer, Dr. Lutes served as the Chief Medical Officer at Keryx and then moved onto a variety of roles as an independent consultant. In his consulting career, Dr. Lutes embedded himself in companies within the biotechnology and hematology/oncology pharmaceutical industries, ranging from start-ups to large companies, to improve clinical trial operations. He provided a range of services, from medical monitoring, pharmacovigilance, and protocol design strategy to assist in navigating international regulations and business development, sales, marketing, and scientific affairs. During this time, Dr. Lutes also founded Angam Scientific, to focus on exploring emerging opportunities in oncology with a focus on precision medicine, biomarkers, and immunotherapy. His most recent work prior to joining Novella was on developing biomarkers for more targeted treatment of pancreatic cancer. He chose to focus on this extremely difficult to treat malignancy because he felt he could make the most difference by concentrating on a cancer where there have been so few advances.

Dr. Lutes received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and his medical degree at the University of Illinois in Chicago. After medical school, Dr. Lutes interned at Cook County Hospital, which then housed the largest emergency department in the world and provided almost all the medical care for Chicago’s minority and immigrant communities. Dr. Lutes was drafted into the army after his internship to serve in the Vietnam War.  He was assigned as a battalion surgeon to the First Air Cavalry Division, one of the most active units in the war.  Many of his fellows from Vietnam had great difficulty returning to civilian life due to PTSD. Witnessing the losses and the destructive scars of post-traumatic stress disorder in survivors has had a profound effect on Dr. Lutes and has made him very sensitive to the struggles others may be dealing with from events that occurred in their life. After returning from Vietnam, Dr. Lutes completed his residency in internal medicine at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital and became fellow at the University’s Cardeza Foundation for Hematological Research and fell in love with working the area of malignant diseases. He chose this field because the complexity and severity of the cases, and the high level of care these patients require appealed to him.

Dr. Lutes has authored numerous peer-reviewed articles as well as white papers on various aspects of hematology-oncology clinical research. He is board-certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in Hematology and Internal Medicine.

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