• Purified human CD8 T-cells

    Erin Zwack/Brodsky Lab & Penn Vet Imaging Core - Murine macrophages infected with Yersinia pseudo tuberculosis. Blue indicates the cell, red is a mitochondrial stain, green is a stain for Yersinia secreted effector proteins.

  • 3D image of the inflamed meningeal membrane of a CX3CR1-GFP reporter mouse

    Claudio Giraudo - Polarization of lytic granules to the immunological synapse during the cytolytic process of human CD8 lymphocytes against cancer cells.

  • Time series of cells expressing GFP-tagged ebola viral protein VP40

    Gretchen Harms, Hunter lab - Stylized images of CD8+ T cells looking at differential localization of the transcription factor T-bet in mouse cells after infection with the parasite Toxoplasma gondii, using the Amnis ImageStream. In the cell in the first and third box, T-bet (red) does not co-localize with DAPI (blue), indicating that it is cytoplas

IFI Members in the News

    Precise Targeting

    A team led by James Hoxie of Medicine has developed genetically engineered T cells with a “fusion inhibitor” to battle the spread of a wide range of HIV viruses.

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    Doctor Now Studying Rare Disease that Nearly Killed Him

    Janssen Research and Penn are collaborating to form the first global patient registry for Castleman disease. David Fajgenbaum, MD, a research assistant professor in the division of Translational Medicine and Human Genetics, was quoted. Fajgenbaum is a Castleman's disease researcher.

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    New Trial for HIV/AIDS Vaccine

    Ronald G. Collman, MD, director of the Penn Center for AIDS Research, spoke with Marketplace about a new HIV vaccine clinical trial, which starts today in South Africa. Many researchers are cautiously optimistic it could lead to a viable vaccine.

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    Doctor with Rare Castleman Disease Works to Find Cure

    Janssen Research and Penn are collaborating to form the first global patient registry for Castleman disease. David Fajgenbaum, MD, a research assistant professor in the division of Translational Medicine and Human Genetics, was quoted. Fajgenbaum is a Castleman's disease researcher who was also diagnosed with the rare disease five years ago.

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    Preventative Antibiotics May Prevent C. diff Infection for Some Blood-cancer Patients

    Research led by Alex Ganetsky, PharmD, a clinical pharmacist in the Blood and Bone Marrow Transplantation Program, and David Porter, MD, director of the Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program, shows C. diff may be preventable in allogeneic stem cell transplant patients. 

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    CAR T Cells: Progress, but Questions Remain

    A HemOnc Today article examines progress in the field of CAR T cell research to treat blood cancers. Stephan Grupp, MD, PhD, director of the cancer immunotherapy program and director of translational research for the Center for Childhood Cancer at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia and a professor of Pediatrics at Penn, and David Porter, MD, a professor of Hematology-Oncology and director of Blood and Marrow Transplantation in Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center, are highlighted.

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    CRISPR Gene-editing Tested in Human for First Time

    A Chinese team has become the first in the world to test CRISPR gene editing technology in a human. Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of Translational Research in the Abramson Cancer Center, is quoted.

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    Penn and Janssen Collaborate for 1st Global Patient Registry for Castleman Disease

    Janssen Research and Penn are collaborating to form the first global patient registry for Castleman disease. David Fajgenbaum, MD, a research assistant professor in Translational Medicine and Human Genetics, is quoted. Fajgenbaum is a Castleman's disease researcher who was also diagnosed with the rare disease five years ago.

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    Full Width Article Example

    John Wherry, PhD, director of the Institute for Immunology and a professor of Microbiology, is quoted on the results of a study led by his team which found that reinvigorating exhausted T cells in mice using a PD-L1 blockade caused very few T memory cells to develop. After the blockade, re-invigorated T cells became re-exhausted if antigen from the virus remained high, and failed to become memory T cells when the virus was cleared.

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    CRISPR Gene-Editing Tested in a Person for the First Time

    Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of Translational Research in the Abramson Cancer Center, is quoted in stories detailing a Chinese team's first use of CRISPR gene editing technology to treat a cancer patient.

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    AHA: Mixed Results For ApoA-1 Therapies

    MedPage Today highlighted results from a study presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions 2016, which suggests that there is still hope for a category of experimental drugs that attempt to mimic the putative beneficial effect of HDL. Daniel Rader, MD, chair of Genetics and panel discussant during the presentation, is quoted.

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    Gene Pioneers Share Philly Science Award for CRISPR

    The Philadelphia Inquirer reports Carl June, MD, a professor of Immunotherapy in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, will receive a John Scott Medal, an annual award that has been given since 1822.

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    Genetic Variants May Explain High Sodium Consumption

    Mariell Jessup, MD, a professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, is quoted in a Cardiology Advisor article highlighting a study presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Session 2016, which suggests there is a genetic variant which explains a patient's high salt consumption. 

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    Exhausted

    Medicine’s John Wherry, PhD and postdoc Kristen Pauken found that T cells that tire when fighting infections or cancer are not fully revived by checkpoint inhibitor drugs.

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    'Rebounded'

    David Fajgenbaum of Medicine is dedicated to facilitating research projects for Castleman disease, a rare immune system disorder that he has battled since 2010.

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    Stability of Exhausted T Cells Limits Durability of Cancer Checkpoint Drugs

    Cancer Research UK featured a study led by John Wherry, PhD, director of the Institute for Immunology and a professor of Microbiology, which found that reinvigorating exhausted T cells in mice using a PD-L1 blockade caused very few T memory cells to develop. After the blockade, re-invigorated T cells became re-exhausted if antigen from the virus remained high, and failed to become memory T cells when the virus was cleared.

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    Penn and Janssen Collaborate for 1st Global Patient Registry for Castleman Disease

    Janssen Research and the University of Pennsylvania are teaming up to compile patient records in hopes of spotting trends in Castleman Disease, according to Rare Disease Report. David Fajgenbaum, MD, MBA, an assistant professor of Medicine and associate director of patient impact at the Penn Orphan Disease Center, was quoted.

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    Stability of Exhausted T Cells Limits Durability of Cancer Checkpoint Drugs

    E. John Wherry, PhD, director of the Institute for Immunology at Penn and the Barbara and Richard Schiffrin President’s distinguished professor of Microbiology, and colleagues found that reinvigorating exhausted T cells in mice using a PD-L1 blockade caused very few T memory cells to develop.

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    HIV First Came to New York City, Then the Rest of the U.S., Research Shows

    New research into HIV's origin in the United States found that the virus arrived in New York City precisely 10 years before doctors first noticed the disease, solving a 35-year mystery and absolving Gaëtan Dugas, so-called “Patient Zero,” who had been wrongly blamed for bringing the virus to U.S. shores. “This is, in my mind, the last piece of the puzzle,” said Beatrice Hahn, MD, a professor of Medicine and Microbiology. “We now have a very detailed understanding where HIV came from.”

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    Tech Giant Sean Parker Launches Penn’s Cancer Immunotherapy Center

    Sean Parker, the Napster founder and former Facebook president turned philanthropist, visited Penn Tuesday evening to celebrate the launch of Penn’s Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. Parker was joined by scientists including the center’s leader, cellular therapy pioneer Carl June, MD, a professor of Immunotherapy in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. ABC News Chief Health and Medical Editor Richard Besser, MD, a Perelman School of Medicine graduate, moderated a panel discussion during the event.

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    Penn Celebrates Launch of Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy

    The Philly Voice previews this evening's event to launch the University of Pennsylvania's Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy. Silicon Valley entrepreneur and philanthropist Sean Parker will be joined by scientists, physicians, patients, and Penn leaders to discuss the groundbreaking initiative, which was made possible with a $250 million gift from the Parker Foundation that will be divided between Penn and five of the nation's other top cancer centers to investigate new therapies that harness the body's immune system to attack cancer.

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    Antibiotics Before Age 2 Linked to Allergies Later

    Jonathan Spergel, MD, chief of the Allergy Section and a professor of Pediatrics spoke with CBS News online about a new study that found that taking antibiotics in early childhood may increase the odds for hay fever and the skin condition eczema later in life.

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    Cutting Morrbid RNA Shortens Immune Cell Lifespan

    Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology News covered a study by Jorge Henao-Mejia, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine. His team found that depending on how gene transcription metes out the supply of Morrbid, a long noncoding RNA, certain immune cells may have longer or shorter lifespans, determining whether immune responses go too far, or whether a proper balance is maintained between fighting infection and inflammation.

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    Cancer on Course to Become Top Killer of Americans

    Mariell Jessup, MD, a professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, is quoted in a HealthDay story which reports that cancer is on pace to become the leading cause of death in the United States, outpacing heart disease.

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    Researchers Develop Model to Predict Sudden Cardiac Death Risk

    Rajat Deo, MD, MTR, an assistant professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, and a team of researchers, developed and validated a prediction model to determine sudden cardiac death risk in adults without a history of cardiovascular disease. The study was published online in Circulation, and featured in Cardiovascular Business and UPI.

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    T Cell Therapy Holds Great Power, But Carries Risks

    A STAT story about progress in the field of CAR T cell therapy for cancer quoted Pathology and Laboratory Medicine faculty members Bruce Levine, PhD, and Michael Milone, MD, PhD.

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    Penn Medicine Researchers Predict Sudden Cardiac Death Risk

    For the first time, a team of researchers led by Rajat Deo, MD, MTR, an assistant professor of Cardiovascular Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine, has developed and validated a prediction model to determine sudden cardiac death risk in adults without a history of cardiovascular disease. This research is detailed in a paper published in Circulation.

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    Immunotherapy: A New Weapon Against Cancer

    U.S. News & World Report says researchers are developing CAR T cell therapies to beat more types of cancers, including solid tumors such as glioblastoma, the aggressive brain cancer. David Porter, MD, director of Blood and Marrow Transplantation in the Abramson Cancer Center, and a patient who received the therapy at Penn six years ago, are quoted in the story, which will appear in the magazine's annual Best Hospitals issue.

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    A Second Look: Efforts to Repurpose Old Drugs Against Zika Cast a Wide Net

    Sara Cherry, PhD, an associate professor of Microbiology, commented in Nature Medicine about possible drug candidates against the Zika virus. Cherry has cast a wide net, screening more than 2,000 small-molecule compounds with known target proteins.

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    Energetic Changes

    New findings from E. John Wherry of Medicine show that tweaking cancer therapies to control increased metabolic rates in infection-fighting T-cells may enhance treatment.

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    Team Effort

    James Riley and Luis Montaner of Medicine will be leading a large project that will join researchers from a diverse array of expertise to work towards an HIV cure.

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    Studies Show Link Between Gene and HDL Cholesterol

    Medical News Today, among other outlets, featured results from a collaborative study led by Daniel J. Rader, MD, chair of Genetics, which compared several animal models with human patient data and uncovered how genes identified from genome-wide association studies (GWAS) affect levels of HDL cholesterol. Rader is quoted.

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    A Clearer View of Achievemnet in Nuclear Radiology

    The contributions of Abass Alavi, MD, to the field of nuclear medicine come into clearer focus when you hear his life story up to this point – raised in a poor family in Iran to becoming one of the world’s preeminent researchers in nuclear imaging. Earlier this month, the Society for Nuclear Medicine hosted a celebration for the 40th anniversary of the FDG compound that Alavi and his colleagues developed.

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    Cancer Checkpoint Drug Target Governs Metabolic Changes in Exhausted T Cells

    Reprogramming of the molecular pathways underlying normal metabolism is essential for T cell infection-fighting function and for the immune system to form a “memory” of the microbes it has already encountered. But exactly how metabolism in exhausted T cells is maintained in chronic infections and cancer is a missing element in this line of research. Now, a new study suggests that tweaking metabolic steps in combination with checkpoint blockade drugs may improve some cancer therapies, according to new research from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The team led by senior author E. John Wherry, PhD, director of the Institute for Immunology, a professor of Microbiology, and co-director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Penn.published their findings this week in Immunity.

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    Setting the Body's Serial Killers' Loose on Cancer

    A front-page New York Times article details progress in the field of personalized cellular therapies, including at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center. The story features Penn Pathology and Laboratory Medicine faculty members Carl June, MD, and Bruce Levine, PhD, and three Abramson Cancer Center patients who participated in clinical trials for the Penn-developed CAR T cell therapy for leukemia. Upon learning his body had been cleared of cancer, “it was like this weight that had been sitting there was gone,” said Doug Olson, who was among the first three patients to receive the therapy and remains cancer-free six years later.

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    Hybrid Immune Cells Have Antitumor Effects in Early Stage Lung Cancer

    Oncology Nurse Advisor covers a Penn study that found that a subset of tumor-associated immune cells has hybrid characteristics of both neutrophils and antigen-presenting cells in samples from early stage human lung cancers.Evgeniy B. Eruslanov, PhD, and Sunil Singhal, MD, both in the department of Surgery were quoted.

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    For Organs Kept Alive Before Transplant, Tantalizing Possibilities

    The Philadelphia Inquirer interviewed Edward Cantu, MD, an assistant professor of Cardiovascular Surgery,Abraham Shaked, MD, PhD, director of the Penn Transplant Institute, and a patient of Cantu's who received double-lung transplant in 2013, for an in-depth piece on organ perfusion.

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    Signaling Danger

    Research by postdoc Daphne Avgousti and Matthew Weitzman of Med and CHOP uncovered a mechanism by which a common virus manipulates the immune system.

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    Approach Targets Autoimmunity

    NIH Research Matters reports on a Penn Science study on how to adapt a highly successful immune system approach to fight cancer against a debilitating skin disease. Aimee S. Payne, MD, PhD, the Albert M. Kligman Associate Professor of Dermatology, and Michael C. Milone, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and postdoctoral fellow Christoph T. Ellebrecht were mentioned.

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    New Therapy Treats Autoimmune Disease Without Suppressing Immune System

    A Penn team reports in Science on how to adapt a highly successful immune system approach to fight cancer against a debilitating skin disease. Aimee S. Payne, MD, PhD, an associate professor of Dermatology, and Michael C. Milone, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, are mentioned.

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    Fecal Transplants Can Be Life-Saving, but How?

    Frederic D. Bushman, PhD, chair of Microbiology, commented in The New York Times for an article about a PLoS Biology study, which noted that just a gram of stool contains a staggering mix of biological material, perhaps 100 billion bacteria, 100 million viruses and a million spores of fungi. “There’s a lot going on in there — it’s a whole community,” Bushman said.

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    Philadelphia Researchers are Leaders in Major Effort to Cure HIV

    The National Institutes of Health named six large scientific teams, including one co-led by the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, to advance the global efforts to develop a cure for HIV. James Riley, PhD, an associate professor of Microbiology, will serve as the principal investigator for the $23 million grant.

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    A Young Doctor Fights to Cure his Own Rare, Deadly Disease

    David Fajgenbaum, MD, a research assistant professor in the division of Translational Medicine and Human Genetics, is profiled in a Science magazine article. Fajgenbaum is a Castleman’s disease researcher who was also diagnosed with the rare disease five years ago.

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    22 Ways Drinking Soda Will Shorten Your Life

    The Epoch Times quoted Nehal N. Mehta, MD, MSCE, FACP, FACC, an adjunct assistant professor of Cardiovasacular Medicine, in a piece that details the negative effects drinking soda can have on consumer's health and ultimately their lifespan.

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    Ibuprofen Could Make Heart Failure Worse, American Heart Association Warns

    Following the recent publication of guildines from the American Heart Association which urge doctors to check all patients' medications to ensure they aren't inadvertently putting their lives at risk, the Daily Mail hightlights the impacts some common medications can have on worsening heart failure. Mariell Jessup, MD, a professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, is quoted.

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    At the Surface

    Researchers Avery Posey, Laura Johnson and Carl June of Medicine are developing an immunotherapy that uses engineered T cells to target a wide range of solid tumors. (Video)

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    Immune System Autocorrect Feature Reverses Autoimmune Disease in Mice

    A Penn team reports in Science on how to adapt a highly successful immune system approach to fight cancer against a debilitating skin disease. Aimee S. Payne, MD, PhD, an associate professor of Dermatology, Michael C. Milone, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and postdoctoral fellow Christoph T. Ellebrecht, MD, were all mentioned in the article.

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    New Therapy Treats Autoimmune Disease Without Harming Normal Immunity

    A Penn team reports in Science on how to adapt a highly successful immune system approach to fight cancer against a debilitating skin disease. Aimee S. Payne, MD, PhD, the Albert M. Kligman Associate Professor of Dermatology, Michael C. Milone, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and postdoctoral fellow Christoph T. Ellebrecht, MD, were all mentioned in news stories.

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    Double Targeted CAR-T Scores in Preclinical Cancer Study

    To date, T cells modified to express chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) have been too indiscriminate to use against solid tumors. Better-targeted CAR T cells, however, have been demonstrated in a preclinical study led by Avery Posey, PhD, an instructor in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Laura Johnson, PhD, director of the Solid Tumor Immunotherapy Laboratory in the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies, and Carl June, MD, the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies.

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    Game-changer

    George Shaw and Hui Li of the Perelman School of Medicine have developed an improved research tool that will give scientists a better way to test possible HIV vaccines.

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    A Closer Look at CRISPR

    Carl June, MD, a professor of Immunotherapy in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, is quoted in a STAT article that takes a deeper dive into the potential hurdles associated with the gene-editing technique CRISPR, including the commonly raised concern over whether the tool may edit out the wrong DNA.

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    CAR-T Optimized to Target Solid Tumors in Animal Models

    Better-targeted CAR T cells have been demonstrated in a preclinical study led by Avery Posey, PhD, an instructor in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine; Laura Johnson, PhD, director of the Solid Tumor Immunotherapy Laboratory in the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies, and Carl June, MD, the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies. The CAR T cells were engineered to aim at a truncated carbohydrate molecule expressed in a variety of cancers.

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    Top Honor: George Hajishengallis Receives NIH MERIT Award

    George Hajishengallis of Dental has been recognized by the National Institutes of Health for “distinctly superior” research and productivity in his work on periodontitis.

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    Archived News

    See news from previous years.

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