Medicine needs new classes of therapeutics to improve survival of children with cancer and decrease the potentially life-altering physical, emotional, and financial costs of current therapies. The team uses new technologies in the fields of cancer genomics, epigenetics (the study of mechanisms that alter gene expression), and proteomics (research into proteins and their functions) to discover and validate new targets for immunotherapy.
The team is building new antibodies, antibody–drug combinations, and CAR T cells (tumor-seeking killer cells) to attack these targets. It is developing innovative new immunotherapies, discovering basic mechanisms of effectiveness (or lack thereof) in both antibody and cellular engineering, and devising novel methods to monitor clinical effectiveness and toxicity.
Team members previously opened more than 20 clinical trials and treated nearly 700 pediatric patients with cancers that have resisted treatment. Their work has demonstrated the potency of immunotherapy against acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), and the scientists have also made progress against childhood solid cancers.