Celebrate Breakthrough Cancer Research

As we celebrate this wonderful season of giving, we want to thank all of our donors for helping support ACGT’s breakthrough research.  And we want to thank our researchers and their patients who are continually moving cell and gene therapies for cancer to the forefront of innovation in the treatment of this deadly disease.  2015 has been a wonderful year full of outstanding cell and gene therapy progress, and there is much to celebrate.  We continue to see more successful results with the use of T-cell therapy for the treatment of leukemia in both adult and pediatric patients.  Many of our researchers continue to achieve life-saving results including Dr. Carl June, Dr. Michel Sadelain, Dr. Laurence Cooper, Dr. Thomas Kipps to name a few. 

2015 has also been the year of oncolytic viruses (OV), as the FDA recently approved the first OV therapy for the treatment of blood cancer.  Many of ACGT’s scientists, including current ACGT grantee Dr. John Bell, Ottawa Hospital Research Institute have pioneered this gene therapy.  We have also witnessed the emergence of gene editing, and in London, it was successfully used on donor T-cells to treat a little girl in London who was dying of leukemia and is now cancer-free.   And just this month, suicide gene therapy was use to successfully kill prostate tumor cells.

All of these powerful therapies are being researched by ACGT Research Fellows and members of our esteemed Scientific Advisory Council.  But there is still much to do.  These therapies are still in their infancy and  need more support to get them into more patients, while keeping the costs of production down.  And we need more support for ACGT’s Young Investigator program which supports newly minted Assistant Professors conducting novel independent basic science using cell and gene therapies.

Again, thank you to all and best wishes for a happy, healthy 2016. 



Patient in China Free of Leukemia After CAR T cell Therapy,

In China, a patient whose life was close to its end was completely cured of leukemia by stimulating the immune system using CAR T-cell therapy. In the first study of its type, all cancer cells quickly disappeared. Immune-mediated treatment, pioneered in this country by ACGT scientists Dr. Carl June, University of Pennsylvania, and Dr. Michel Sadelain, Memorial-Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, among others, is rapidly proving more and more successful with thousands of patients in human trials.

A middle-aged woman is said to have been cured of leukemia after she was treated with CAR T-cell therapy. “The cancer cells have disappeared from her body. She is the first patient who has been completely cured of the disease using gene therapy,” said Professor Qian Cheng, director of the Bio-Treatment Center at the hospital in the city of Chongqing.

China has about four million patients that have been diagnosed with leukemia. Most patients are treated using chemo-therapy or bone marrow transplants, but CAR-T treatment is a gene therapy using modified T cells to fight cancer cells in leukemia patients. “CAR-T therapy is a much better option, because it can cut costs by at least 30 percent compared with bone marrow transplants, and is more likely to lead to a cure,” Professor Qian said

Six other patients, who are receiving the gene therapy in the same hospital, have shown improved conditions, according to Professor Qian. CAR-T gene therapy is still in the clinical trial phase in China and has only been administered in fewer than ten hospitals across China. Qian said his team is encouraged by the success and will further study dosing to improve the new therapy. .