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FINDING CURES TOGETHER<sup>SM</sup>

SU2C Meg Vosburg T-Cell Lymphoma Dream Team: Tailoring CAR-based Immunotherapy Strategies to T-cell Lymphoma

Leader

Helen Heslop, MD

Helen Heslop, MD
Director, Center for Cell and Gene Therapy, Baylor College of Medicine

Co-leader

Gianpietro Dotti, MD

Gianpietro Dotti, MD
Director, Immunotherapy Program, University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center

Overview

​Cancer immunotherapy – enabling the body’s immune system to detect and destroy cancer cells -- has had a tremendous impact on a wide range of cancers, including B-cell lymphomas. However, it has not yet been effective in those lymphomas that originate primarily from T cells. The scientific challenge is in finding a therapy that can attack the cancerous T cells while leaving normal cells intact, since T cells are essential to the body’s immune system. 

The SU2C Meg Vosburg T-cell Lymphoma Dream Team is testing engineered cells that carry molecules known as chimeric antigen receptors, or CARs, which can lock onto proteins on the surface of cancerous T cells and destroy them. Finding the best combination of CARs and engineered cell types is a key goal of the Dream Team. In addition, the team is working to modify the CAR-carrying cells so that they are not hindered by immune cells. This will help reduce the cancer and prepare patients for potential stem cell transplants to contain or cure the cancer. CAR therapy is usually custom-built for each patient.  The team is trying to find a way to develop CAR cells on an “off-the-shelf” basis so the therapy will be more available to patients and less expensive.  

This team in named in honor of Mary Margaret (Meg) Moretti Vosburg, a lifelong learner, educator and humanitarian, who died May 26, 2018, after a hard-fought battle with lymphoma at the age of 51.


Amount Of Funding:

$8 million

Principals

Baylor College of Medicine: 

  • Malcolm K. Brenner, MD, PhD, investigator
  • Carlos Ramos, MD, investigator
  • Maksim Mamonkin, PhD, young investigator
  • LaQuisa Hill, MD, young investigator
  • Rayne Rouce, MD, young investigator
  • Natasha Lapteva, PhD, investigator

University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill:

  • Barbara Savoldo, MD, PhD, investigator
  • Anne Beaven, MD, investigator
  • Natalie Grover, MD, young investigator
  • Joel Parker, PhD, investigator
  • Paul Eldridge, PhD, investigator

The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center:

  • Katy Rezvani, MD, PhD, Dream Team principal
  • Elizabeth J. Shpall, MD, investigator
  • May Daher, MD, young investigator

Wake Forest Baptist Health Comprehensive Cancer Center:

  • Bayard Powell, MD, Dream Team principal
  • Timothy S. Pardee, MD PhD, investigator
  • Wei Zhang, PhD, investigator
  • Zanetta S. Lamar, MD, young investigator


Advocates

  • ​Patty Spears, UNC Lineberger Patient Research Advocacy Group Gustavo Ayala, MD, University of Texas in Houston, parent of a teenager with T-cell lymphoma
  • Bambi Grilley, director of Clinical Research and Early Product Development at Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine
  • Ruth Sorelle, retired journalist and survivor of NK-T cell lymphoma