2015

Samuel G. Katz MD, PhD

Yale University, New Haven, CT Assistant Professor, Pathology

Research Focus: Immunotherapy

Cancer Type: Blood Cancers

Award: Young Investigator/ Swim Across America Award

Great progress has been made in harnessing a patient’s own immune cells to attack blood cancers. A particularly effective alternative is to harvest the patient’s T-cells [killer white cells] and reprogram them to recognize the cancer as a threat. Once returned to the body, these reprogrammed cells use a dual-action protein known as a chimeric antigen receptor [CAR] that first recognizes the tumor and then attacks. Most protocols use retroviruses to alter the cells, but the new proteins might also attack healthy tissue. Dr. Katz’s research instead employs RNA, which directs the cells to attack only the cancer. In addition, RNA reprogramming is more transient, meaning that after conclusion of treatment, RNA and derivative proteins return to their normal state, which further minimizes possible side effects. Although Dr. Katz focuses currently on blood cancer, CAR-T therapy is applicable to many types of tumors and presents a high potential for further development.

In addition to research, Dr. Katz teaches genetic, biochemistry and cell biology techniques to better provide patient care. He earned his MD in Medicine and a PhD in Genetics at Harvard Medical School, Division of Medical Sciences in Boston, MA, and served his residency and fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and his post-doctoral fellowship at Dana Farber Cancer Institute, both in Boston.

Return to Fellows List