Working to improve cellular immunotherapies for cancer

Engineered cellular immunotherapies, namely chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells, have generated a great deal of excitement in the treatment of blood cancers. Despite exciting early clinical results, we now see that nearly half of patients with leukemia or lymphoma will fail CAR therapy. The next phase in the development of engineered cell therapies must be driven by a deeper understanding of the biology regulating the activity of these synthetic cell products.

The goal of our laboratory is to understand the mechanisms controlling success and failure of T cells engineered to target cancer and overcome barriers that prevent responses. Using observations from a broad range of investigations, including clinical trials and correlative studies, we aim to dissect the biology of these novel immunotherapies. Through the application of innovative technologies, such as mass cytometry, single cell sequencing, high-resolution microscopy, and genome-wide screening, we explore the complex and dynamic relationship between cancer cells and T cells.

We hope that our work will lead to basic discovery about the biology of this novel class of “living drugs”, and inform the design of the next generation of cellular therapies that are safer, more efficient and more effective.