2004

Michel Sadelain MD, PhD

Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY Director, Gene Transfer and Somatic Cell Engineering Facility Head, Gene Transfer and Gene Expression Laboratory

Research Focus: T Cell Engineering & Artificial Antigen

Cancer Type: Lymphoma & Leukemia

Award: Clinical Investigator

2004-2007 Research Grant:
This program aims to assess the therapeutic potential of genetically targeted T-cells in the treatment of leukemia and lymphoma. We recently demonstrated that human peripheral blood T-cells can be genetically redirected to recognize the CD19 antigen and eradicate established, systemic human B-cell tumors borne by immune deficient mice, demonstrating for the first time that genetically modified human T-cells can induce durable remissions in an in-vivo setting. As the final aim of this project, we plan to assess this therapeutic strategy in patients with relapsed B-cell malignancies.

Current Research:

Dr. Sadelain has continued his work in using T-cells to treat leukemia and lymphoma. His research has proven that when T-cells are removed from the patient’s body they can be genetically reengineered to target and destroy B-cells expressing the CD19 antigen. Dr. Sadelain describes this development as creating “living drugs,” in which the patient’s own body and cells are fighting their cancer. Recent clinical trials of this treatment have shown promising results in even some of the most severe cases of people suffering from acute lymphoblastic lymphoma. While not all of the patients involved in the study have been so lucky, many have gone into remission following the T-cell treatment, or their cancer seems to have been virtually eradicated. This treatment is still being studied in current and future clinical trials in order to determine the consistency and dependability of its results. Dr. Sadelain is also studying ways to insert new genes into bone marrow and T-lymphocytes in order to reduce the occurrence of graft-versus-host disease, common in these types of transplants, to improve therapy in this manner.

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