Nabil M Ahmed, MD

Nabil M Ahmed, MD

Nabil M Ahmed, MD Associate Professor, Baylor College of Medicine

Dr. Ahmed is a physician scientist engaged in translational research focusing on adoptive immunotherapy with gene-modified effector cells, to improve therapy for brain tumors. Dr Ahmed's initial studies demonstrated that antigen-specific cytotoxic T cells could eradicate established brain tumors in medulloblastoma and Glioblastoma models. Subsequent studieshave demonstrated that the tumor-specific T cells, unlike conventional therapies, can effectively target the stem cell compartment in the tumor eradicating experimental tumors in animal models. Aligning with his primary interest is studying the role of T cells in creating a tumor niche and studying T cell migration to distant tumor sites in the brain. Dr. Ahmed therefore has experience in developing and translating cell and gene therapy studies to the clinic. Currently, Dr. Ahmed is the principal investigator on 3 clinical trials targeting Glioblastoma and Osteosarcoma by administering tumor-specific T cells to. All studies are FDA, IRB, RAC and IBC approved.

Michael Dustin, PhD

Michael Dustin, PhD

Michael Dustin, PhD Professor, University of Oxford

While at the University of Washington, St. Louis, Prof. Dustin led a collaborative group in discovering requirements for the T cell immunological synapse. He then moved to the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine at New York University School of Medicine, where he collaborated on new intravital microscopy projects. Continuation of work on the immunological synapse led to a basic description of the supramolecular assemblies that make up the mature immunological synapse. Specialized functions of the immunological synapse in cytotoxic T cells and regulatory T cells were also explored. This work includes the recent observation that the small vesicles enriched in T cell receptor, synaptic ectosomes, are directly budded into the immunological synapse, handing off T cell receptor and other cargo to the antigen presenting cell. He was director of the NIH funded Nanomedicine Center for Mechanobiology from 2009-2014 In order to further advance studies on the immunological synapse and translation to treatment of human diseases he moved to the Kennedy Institute of Rheumatology at the University of Oxford in 2013.

Keith T Flaherty, MD

Keith T Flaherty, MD

Keith T Flaherty, MD Professor, Harvard Medical School

As described in the more than 250 peer reviewed primary research reports he has authored or co-authored, Dr. Flaherty and colleagues made several seminal observations that have defined the treatment of melanoma when they established the efficacy of BRAF, MEK and combined BRAF/MEK inhibition in patients with metastatic melanoma in a series of New England Journal of Medicine articles for which Dr. Flaherty was the first author. Dr. Flaherty also has been a leader in assessing and identifying mechanisms of de novo and acquired resistance to BRAF inhibitor therapy and clinically evaluating next generation inhibitors, work that has had implications for resistance to targeted therapy regimens used to treat other malignant diseases. Dr. Flaherty has received extensive NCI funding support with K12, K23, SPORE, RO1, U54 and PO1 grants. He serves as editor-in-chief of Clinical Cancer Research.

Wolf H Fridman, MD, PhD

Wolf H Fridman, MD, PhD

Wolf H Fridman, MD, PhD Professor Emeritus, Paris Descarte University Medical School

Dr. Fridman's research interests have been focused around the role of the immune system in controlling human tumors and the biological functions of receptors for IgG antibodies, both through basic and translational approaches. His team identified the protein references which trigger the biological functions of the receptors for IgG. He first demonstrated an immune response of the patient to his own cancer in acute leukemia. He then focused on the analysis of the tumor microenvironment with the demonstration of the beneficial effect of a Th1-oriented immune response to control clinical outcome in cervical cancer. His studies have changed the paradigm of host/cancer interactions by demonstrating that the "immune contexture", taking into account the functionality, the location, and the density of the immune infiltrate in colorectal tumors, is the major prognostic factor for human cancers.

Thomas Gajewski, MD, PhD

Thomas Gajewski, MD, PhD

Thomas Gajewski, MD, PhD Professor, University of Chicago

Dr. Gajewski investigates and develops new treatments for patients with melanoma. He has a special interest in the development of immunotherapies against this disease. Dr. Gajewski also leads development of immune-based therapies for other cancers, using new laboratory data on how the immune system is regulated to develop novel clinical trials. He serves as an editor for Cancer Research and Journal for Immunotherapy of Cancer. In addition, he is immediate past president of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer and has served on the program committees for the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR).

Stephan A Grupp, MD, PhD

Stephan A Grupp, MD, PhD

Stephan A Grupp, MD, PhD Professor, University of Pennsylvania

Stephan Grupp, MD PhD, is the Chief of the Cellular Therapy and Transplant Section, Director of the Cancer Immunotherapy Program, and Director of Translational Research in the Center for Childhood Cancer Research at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and the Yetta Dietch Novotny Professor of Pediatrics at the University of Pennsylvania. A bone marrow transplant physician, he is a member of the Division of Oncology and the Medical Director of the Cell and Gene Therapy Lab. His primary area of clinical research is the use of CAR T and other engineered cell therapies in relapsed pediatric cancers. He led all of the pediatric ALL trials of CTL019 (now approved as Kymriah), including the largest and most successful engineered T cell therapy clinical trial conducted to date, as well as the global registration trial for CTL019. As a result of this work, he presented the Clinical Perspective at the July 2018 FDA ODAC meeting, at which reviewers voted 10-0 for recommendation of approval for Kymriah in pediatric ALL. His primary laboratory interest is the development of new cell therapy treatments for pediatric cancers.

Crystal Mackall, MD

Crystal Mackall, MD

Crystal Mackall, MD Professor, Stanford University

Dr. Mackall's laboratory seeks to develop novel therapies for early phase testing in clinical trials, and also conducts intensive studies on clinical samples obtained from patients treated on immunotherapy trials. She focuses primarily on using genetically engineered T cells to treat cancer, with an emphasis on chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). Some clinical results using CAR based therapies have been impressive, but her group aims to show further progress by focusing on three major areas: (1) T cell exhaustion, (2) defining the therapeutic window which allows the immune cell to preferentially or exclusively attack the neoplastic cell while sparing non-neoplastic, vital tissues, and (3) understanding the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment and developing novel approaches to diminish the ability of the tumor microenvironment to limit the efficacy of T cell based immunotherapies.

Andy Sewell, PhD

Andy Sewell, PhD

Andy Sewell, PhD Distinguished Research Professor, Cardiff University

Sewell group research is focused around T-cell ligands and the receptors that recognise them (αβTCR, γδTCR, CD4 and CD8). Most of our work is based around understanding the basic biology of antigen recognition by human T-cells and we have developed two working, unpublished pipelines for the discovery of new T-cell targets. We also collaborate with various partners to undertake translational projects. Areas of interest include: Dissection of successful immune responses after adoptive transfer of Tumour Infiltrating Lymphocytes; TCR gene transfer therapy; New CAR-T technologies; Artificial (non-biologic) T-cell antigens as vaccines; T-cell/TCR-based diagnostics in autoimmune disease; and, Unconventional (non-HLA-restricted) T-cell responses to infection and tumours.

Arlene Sharpe, MD, PhD

Arlene Sharpe, MD, PhD

Arlene Sharpe, MD, PhD Professor, Harvard Medical School

Dr. Sharpe is a leader in the field of T cell costimulation, and investigates how costimulatory pathways regulate immune responses. Her laboratory has discovered and elucidated the functions of T cell costimulatory pathways, including the immunoinhibitory functions of the CTLA-4 and PD-1 pathways, which have become exceptionally promising targets for cancer immunotherapy. Her laboratory currently focuses on the roles of T cell costimulatory pathways in regulating T cell tolerance and effective antimicrobial and antitumor immunity. Her laboratory also is involved in studies aimed at translating fundamental understanding of T cell costimulation into new therapies for autoimmune diseases and cancer.

Mario Sznol, MD

Mario Sznol, MD

Mario Sznol, MD Professor, Yale University

Dr. Mario Sznol is a Professor of Medicine (Medical Oncology). Dr. Sznol, formerly with the National Cancer Institute, has an international reputation in cancer drug development. Dr. Sznol's expertise and experience is in cancer immunotherapy, drug development for cancer, and treatment of patients with melanoma and renal cell carcinoma. He is working to expand the opportunities for clinical trials at the Yale Cancer Center, particularly those focusing on immunotherapy and novel agents.