CAR Trials Drive Leukemia and Lymphoma Treatment in New Direction

Experimental cellular-immunotherapy may boost body’s ability to find and destroy specific cancers —

Cancer immunology is based upon boosting the body’s own immune system to vanquish malignancies. It is among the fastest growing areas of oncology research. Researchers at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center have launched three clinical trials to test the safety and efficacy of a novel cellular-immunotherapy that uses modified T cells – one of the immune system’s primary weapons – to treat three different types of blood cancer that often defy existing therapies.

“Lymphomas and leukemias affect thousands of Americans every year and unfortunately a good number of them die as a direct consequence of the disease progression or toxicity from existing treatments,” said Januario E. Castro, MD … Read the Full Story from the UC San Diego Newsroom

Januario E. Castro, MDDr. Januario E. Castro is the principal investigator of the three ZUMA clinical trials of the potential treatment, KTE-C19. Dr. Castro is Professor of Medicine in the Division of Bone Marrow Transplantation.
For more information about the trials, contact Amy Guzdar at (858) 822-6843 or

Researchers Block Pathway to Cancer Stem Cell Self-Renewal

NOTCH1 Signaling Promotes T-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia-Initiating Cell Regeneration

Research suggests that patients with leukemia sometimes relapse because standard chemotherapy fails to kill the self-renewing leukemia initiating cells, often referred to as cancer stem cells … A team of researchers – led by Catriona H. M. Jamieson, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and director of Stem Cell Research at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center – studied these cells in mouse models that had been transplanted with human leukemia cells. They discovered … Read the full story from the UCSD Newsroom

Dr. Catriona JamiesonThe senior investigator of the study described in the press release is Catriona H. M. Jamieson, MD, PhD, associate professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology-Oncology and director of stem cell research at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.

In the study, the investigators successfully block leukemia stem cell self-renewal. Their work was funded in part by a California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) Development of Highly Active Anti-Leukemia Stem Cell Therapy (HALT) Leukemia Disease Team Research grant for which Dr. Jamieson serves as co-principal investigator with Dennis A. Carson, MD, former director of the Moores Cancer Center.

The overall goal of the HALT project is to develop six drugs – three monoclonal antibodies and three small molecules – to destroy leukemia stem cells.

Funding also came from the Ratner Family Foundation and the Leichtag Family Foundation. Antibody development was performed by Pfizer.

In her research, Dr. Jamieson focuses on translational studies to develop new treatments for myeloproliferative disorders and leukemia. In 2010, she received a $3.34 million grant from CIRM to support her efforts to develop treatments that reduce the risk of relapse in leukemia.  More about this funded project

Dr. Jamieson was named to the “San Diego’s Top Doctors” list for 2010 and 2011.

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Cancer Survivor Michael Cohen Rode his Bicycle to Inspire Others

by Jessica Logan
UC San Diego Health Sciences Marketing and Communications

Cancer survivor Michael Cohen rode his bicycle across the country this spring to inspire others dealing with the disease to keep going one pedal at a time. He started the 3,000-mile haul April 1 in San Diego where he finished his treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia at UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center with Dr. Edward Ball. Cohen’s cancer has been in remission for six years. … Read the full news feature from the UC San Diego Health System

Dr. Ted BallDr. Edward T. Ball, pictured at left, is professor of medicine and chief of the Division of Bone Marrow Transplantation at UC San Diego.

He co-leads the Hematologic Malignancies Program in research at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center.

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