Damon Runyon Researchers

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Aude G. Chapuis, MD

Non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) is a particularly aggressive type of lung cancer, and mesothelioma is an equally aggressive cancer of the lining of the lung. Despite recent therapeutic advances, approximately 190,000 and 3,000 Americans respectively succumb to these cancers each year, emphasizing the urgent need for more effective treatments. Therapies that use cancer-recognizing immune T cells are especially promising. T cells specifically bind particular tumor-associated molecules (antigens) and kill bound cancer cells through proteins called "T cell receptors" (TCRs). Once an appropriate tumor antigen-specific TCR has been identified, genetic engineering can be used to add that TCR to a patient's T cells, thus educating them to recognize the cancer. The educated immune cells are then infused into patients, where they can seek out and destroy cancer without damaging normal tissues.

Dr Chapuis' studies will target Wilms' tumor antigen 1 (WT1), found not only on NSCLC and mesothelioma cancer cells but also on leukemia cells. She previously led studies of this approach for leukemia, which is now showing promise in the clinic for patients. Her new studies aim to develop a similar safe and effective immunotherapy for patients with deadly lung cancers, with the ultimate goal to entirely bypass the current need for toxic drug and radiation treatments.

Project title: "Multifaceted transgenic TCR approach to high-risk AML"
Institution: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Award Program: Clinical Investigator
Sponsor(s) / Mentor(s): Philip D. Greenberg, MD
Cancer Type: Lung
Research Area: Immunotherapy