Dr. Carl June, director of Translational Research at the Abramson Cancer Center and professor of pathology and laboratory medicine in the School of Medicine, is one of two recipients of the first grant awarded by the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy, Inc. (ACGT) for research in treating lymphoma and leukemia. As the only national foundation devoted exclusively to funding cancer gene therapy research, the mission of ACGT is to identify and fund innovative scientific research on the causes, treatment, and prevention of all types of cancer, using cells and genes as medicine.
"We have recently developed a new strategy to create T cells that express a hybrid gene that endows the engineered T cells with the ability to specifically kill leukemia cells," says Dr. June. "With this grant from the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy we plan to carry out a Phase 1 clinical trial—an initial trial designed not to assess effectiveness, but rather to determine the optimal dose and measure toxicity—in patients with advanced or recurrent leukemia who have not responded to prior chemotherapy."
Dr. June and his collaborator, Dr. David Porter, associate professor of medicine, will receive about $1 million over the next three to four years to use genetically engineered T cells to target leukemia and lymphomas. If properly activated, T cells have a strong capacity to kill tumor cells.
Dr. Michel Sadelain, from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York also received a $1 million ACGT grant for a parallel study, which uses a different vector to carry hybrid genes into T cells. Comparing the outcomes of these two clinical trials will provide important information to better engineer the immune system to fight leukemia and lymphoma. Drs. June and Sadelain were selected by ACGT's 12-member Scientific Advisory Council, which includes some of the nation's most preeminent physicians and researchers in cancer gene therapy.
Almanac, Vol. 51, No. 10, November 2, 2004
November 2, 2004
Volume 51 Number 10