Sidi Chen, PhD: The Light at the End of the Tunnel

Years Funded: 2020-2022

Initial Development of a Novel CRISPRa-Based Immune Gene Therapy for PDAC
Sidi Chen, PhD, assistant professor in the Yale University School of Medicine Department of Genetics, Systems Biology Institute and Cancer Center (West Haven, CT) is taking on the challenges of pancreatic cancer with an innovative, versatile and highly scalable strategy he calls MAEGI — Multiplexed Activation of Endogenous Genes as an Immunotherapy.

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Brian Brown, PhD: Targeting the Suppressors

Years Funded: 2020-2022

Targeting Macrophages to Turn Tumors Hot and Enhance Cancer Immunotherapy
Despite some amazing successes, not all patients respond to current immunotherapies. Brian Brown, PhD, professor and associate director of the Precision Immunology Institute at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai (New York, NY) is working to harness the power of gene therapy to equip a patient’s own T cells to kill immune-suppressing cells called macrophages

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Michael T. Lotze, MD: To Each His Own Adaptome

Years Funded: 2020-2022

Tumor Infiltrating Gamma Delta T Cells for Pancreatic Cancer Treatment
An immune response to pancreatic cancer has been elusive. With funding from ACGT, Michael T. Lotze, MD, vice chair of research at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine Department of Surgery (Pittsburgh, PA) is pioneering the potential of a less appreciated, less abundant, and less studied class of T cells known as gamma delta T cells to confront pancreatic and other solid tumor cancers.

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Yvonne Chen, PhD: Building Better CARs

Years Funded: 2016-2019

High-Throughput Screening of High-Performance Chimeric Antigen Receptors
Yvonne Chen, PhD, of the Department of Microbiology, Immunology and Molecular Genetics, and the Department of Chemical Biomolecular Engineering at the University of California, Los Angeles, organized an ambitious high-throughput screening (HTS) initiative to identify high-performing chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) from thousands of CAR variants. After shifting her research methodology to testing constructs in animal models, three structural parameters were determined to have the most impact on CAR design plus a promising new CAR targeting a B-cell lymphoma antigen (CD20) emerged.

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Christopher Jewell, PhD : Mastering the Microenvironment of Lymph Nodes

Years Funded: 2015-2018

Harnessing Intra-Lymph Node Gene Therapy to Promote Anti-Tumor Immunity
In the Jewell Laboratory at the University of Maryland Fischell Department of Bioengineering (College Park, MD), Christopher Jewell, PhD, led a multidisciplinary team of researchers in developing a cancer-fighting approach to re-engineer the microenvironment of lymph nodes.

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