Thomas Kipps MD, PhD

Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology, Deputy Director of Research

Research Focus: Immunotherapy

Cancer Type: Lymphoma & Leukemia

Award: Clinical Investigator/ Swim Across America Award

Dr. Kipps is recipient of the Swim Across America Award.

Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the most common form of the disease in adults in Western societies, is considered incurable. 10-20% of newly diagnosed patients and more than 50% of relapsed patients have limited or no response to treatment, which leads to a poor prognosis for survival. Most of these therapy resistant CLL-patients are frequently associated with dysfunctional p53 due to deletions in the short arm of chromosome 17. Therapeutic options for these patients usually involve high-risk immunosuppressive treatments, which further reduces their lifespan. A new alternative [CD154] has the potential to sensitize leukemia cells to cell death [apoptosis.] Preliminary research findings have been corroborated in vitro and in vivo on patients treated under the phase 1b protocol and the first patients who have completed the proposed treatment course achieved a complete response. This strategy will test the hypotheses in the context of a gene therapy clinical study, with the aim of developing novel chemo-sensitization alternatives, not only in CLL but potentially in other types of cancer. In previous research, the team observed biologic and clinical activity without dose-limiting toxicity. The goal is to regulate the expression of proteins, genes and microRNA’s independently, so as to stimulate greater chemo-sensitization. Dr. Kipps, who has been working in the field for more than twenty years, is encouraged that a more effective treatment for this disease is within reach.

Dr. Thomas J. Kipps Gene Therapy for Lymphoma & Leukemia Award Recipient (2005)

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