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Rescuing T-Cell Function for Immunotherapy of Pediatric Malignancies

David M. Barrett, MD, PhD

Research

Essential to effective CD19 CAR T therapy is the ability to harvest enough healthy T cells from a patient. Unfortunately, as many as 25% of patients do not benefit from CAR T therapy because their T cells are either dead or crippled from their underlying disease or the chemotherapy they have received. Dr. Barrett set out to characterize the metabolic pathways in T cell samples from newly diagnosed pediatric cancers and from patients who are eligible for CD19 CAR T treatment. To assess the impact of chemotherapy on T cell function, he also set out to conduct similar metabolic pathway analyses on normal donor T cells exposed to different chemotherapeutics. He is poised to design interventions to reverse the metabolic defect/s that they observe.

Biography

Dr. Barrett obtained his MD/PhD (molecular biology and genetics) at Virginia Commonwealth University. He completed his residency at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology. He is currently an assistant professor in Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania and an attending physician in the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Division of Oncology, Transplant and Cellular Therapy Section.

Grantee News

Dr. Barrett showed how T cells hampered by chemotherapy can be restored.