2014 Research Grant

Targeting CD123 using Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cells for Treatment of Acute Myeloid Leukemia. 

Conducted by Dr. Lihua Elizabeth Budde at the City of Hope Hospital. Funded in Partnership with the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation.

This research will test an innovative new therapy in a clinical trial involving Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) patients for whom conventional chemotherapy has not worked. The researcher, Lihua Elizabeth Budde, MD, PhD, has developed a method to engineer the patient’s own T-cells (immune cells that fight disease) to specifically target and kill AML cells. The trial is a first-in-human study building on Dr. Budde’s extensive preclinical research on this method.

She is also developing ways to enhance the potency of the modified immune cells in killing leukemia cells by addressing “immune inhibitory checkpoints” that might otherwise dampen the T cells’ effectiveness. Further, she has plans to improve the safety of T cell therapy by designing a “conditional suicide switch” that provides better control and the potential to turn off the immune response when needed.

This therapeutic approach has the potential to change the treatment paradigm and may significantly improve the cure rate for patients with leukemia, with testing first in adults and ultimately in children. We are excited to be advancing the leading edge of cancer research and to be offering new hope to patients battling AML today.

       Dr. Lihua Elizabeth Budde