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Military Surgeon, Cancer Pioneer to Receive Top Award from BioMed SA
September 15, 2016

A San Antonio physician who has advanced scientific knowledge and development in two key fields of the city's booming BioMedical industry tonight will receive the 2016 Award for Innovation in Healthcare and Bioscience from BioMed SA, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.

George Peoples, MD, is a retired Colonel in the U.S. Army, and he currently heads a firm called Cancer Vaccine Development Program, which is researching and developing life saving cancer immunotherapies.

  Peoples says the vaccines that his firm is working on have a goal, to end cancer's thousands of years of reign as a killer of humanity.

"Maybe not curing it or making it disappear, but learning better how to manage it," he said.  "Making it a chronic condition and not an acute terminal illness."

Peoples says the field of immunotherapy, basically using the body's own immune system to fight the intrusion of cancer, just like it fights infections, viruses, and other intruders, is a significant and very promising path to put down cancer.

He says we know that our immune systems protect us against cancer.  If it didn't, all of us would be getting cancer all the time.

"We are bombarded daily with carcinogenic compounds. or environmental exposures or genetic predispositions which allow cells to become cancerous, yet we all do not develop cancer."

Dr. Peoples' Cancer Vaccine Development Program has helped San Antonio, in conjunction with the work of the START Center, to become a world leader in cutting edge cancer treatment.

But this is Dr. Peoples' second life saving career.  

At SAMMC, Dr. Peoples not only worked as a battlefield trauma surgeon, but he was Chief of Surgical Oncology, and was Chair of the Trauma Program and Deputy Director of the United States Military Cancer Institute.

Dr. Peoples says the Iraq and Afghanistan wars will jump start advances in civilian trauma care, just like the Vietnam War brought us today's Life Flight Helicopter systems, and the knowledge of the role of speed in saving trauma patients.

"Not only the lower combat casualty rate from this war, the lower 'died of wounds rate,' but this technology will begin saving lives in the civilian sector as well."

This is the type of medical innovations which the award, formerly known as the Palmaz Award, is designed to honor.

"Dr. Peoples is a great example of someone whose spirit of innovation has persevered against all odds to achieve transformational results for the benefit of others, whether it be saving lives on the battlefield or advancing new ways to prevent the recurrence of cancer," BioMed SA President Ann Stevens said.  "We are delighted that he has chosen to carry on his work here in San Antonio after completing his military service."

This the tenth year of the award for advances and innovations in the local and national biomedical communities.  The award originally honored UT Health Science Center Professor Dr. Julio Palmaz, whose Palmaz stent revolutionized cardiac care and was named one of the 'Ten Patents That Changed the World' by IP Worldwide Magazine.

BioMed SA Chair Kenneth Trevett says the name change will celebrate innovation in all types of biomedicine, not just inventions and patents, something that Dr. Palmaz is okay with.

"I am proud to have played an early role in San Antonio's track record of biomedical innovation and pleased to see how the local industry has grown over the years," Dr. Palmaz said.  "Dr. Peoples' bio speaks for itself and his many accomplishments exemplify the type of innovation that we are proud to recognize."

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