Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania

Penn Institute for Immunology

IFI Members in the News


November 2018

Resisting CAR T Cell Therapy: A Case Study

Resisting CAR T Cell Therapy: A Case Study

Research from Marco Ruella, MD, an assistant professor of Hematology-Oncology, and J. Joseph Melenhorst, PhD, an associate professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, shows a single leukemia cell – unknowingly engineered with the leukemia-targeting chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) lentivirus and infused back into a patient – was able to reproduce and cause a recurrence of acute lymphoblastic leukemia during an early clinical trial of the CAR T cell therapy.

Communications placement

Cancer Discovery (AACR)


Stroke of Genius: Cancer Immunotherapy and CAR T Cells

Stroke of Genius: Cancer Immunotherapy and CAR T Cells

The Stroke of Genius podcast dives into the history of CAR T cells, including an interview with Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center.

Communications placement
Stroke of Genius


Penn Spinout Preps for Human Studies of a New-Model CAAR, Aiming at a One-Time Cure for Autoimmune Diseases

Penn Spinout Preps for Human Studies of a New-Model CAAR, Aiming at a One-Time Cure for Autoimmune Diseases

A team of Penn faculty has founded a company – Cabaletta Bio – to study a next generation CAAR, or Chimeric AutoAntibody Receptor. In preclinical studies, these CAARs have shown the ability to identify and eliminate specific B cells that mediate a variety of autoimmune conditions, while leaving normal B cells alone. The founders include Michael C. Milone, MD, PhD, an associate professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Aimee Payne, MD, PhD, a professor of Dermatology, and Steven Nichtberger, LSM, an adjunct professor of Health Care Management.

Read More


Philly Talks Cancer: The Abramson Cancer Center Teams Up with AACR and NBC10

Philly Talks Cancer: The Abramson Cancer Center Teams Up with AACR and NBC10

Robert Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, director of the Abramson Cancer Center, was one of several ACC doctors to take part in a unique conversation about the state of cancer care. The American Association for Cancer Research and NBC10 teamed up to host the Philly Talks Cancer event, in which viewers submitted questions about the latest in cancer research.

Communications placement

NBC10 (Clip)


Gene Therapy by the Numbers: 3K Jobs, $1B in Capital

Gene Therapy by the Numbers: 3K Jobs, $1B in Capital

The Philadelphia Inquirerbreaks down the economic impact of the rise of gene therapy in Philadelphia, which has already created 3,000 jobs and led to more than $1 billion in raised capital. The piece specifically credits the work ofCarl June, MD,a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center.

Communications placement

Philadelphia Inquirer



October 2018

How the Immune System Is Used to Treat Breast Cancer

How the Immune System Is Used to Treat Breast Cancer

Robert Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, director of the Abramson Cancer Center, is quoted in a Time magazine story about the growing potential to harness immunotherapy for breast cancer. Though breast cancers are known to evade immune surveillance and attack, Vonderheide is experimenting with ways to combine newer immunotherapy drugs with conventional treatments like chemotherapy and radiation with the hope that the synergistic effect will make tumors more visible and vulnerable to immune attack.

Communications placement

TIME


The West Is Losing the Gene Editing Race - It Needs to Catch Up

The West Is Losing the Gene Editing Race - It Needs to Catch Up

Arguing that the United States needs to catch up in the global race to develop gene therapies, an op-ed in STAT News points to the thought leadership of Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center, who previously tackled this topic in the journal Nature.

STAT News


ALL Has Potential to Relapse After CAR T-Cell Therapy

ALL Has Potential to Relapse After CAR T-Cell Therapy

Research from Marco Ruella, MD, an assistant professor of Hematology-Oncology, and J. Joseph Melenhorst, PhD, an associate professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, shows a single leukemia cell – unknowingly engineered with the leukemia-targeting chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) lentivirus and infused back into a patient – was able to reproduce and cause a recurrence of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) during an early clinical trial of the CAR T cell therapy.

Communications placement

Clinical Oncology News


What Explains the Link Between Type 2 Diabetes and Psoriasis?

What Explains the Link Between Type 2 Diabetes and Psoriasis?

Research led by Joel M. Gelfand, MD, MSCE, a professor of Dermatology and Epidemiology, shows patients with severe psoriasis are at an increased risk of developing diabetes.

Communications placement

MedPage Today


This place is on fire

This place is on fire

Peering out his window in the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine, Robert H. Vonderheide reflects on his first year as the Abramson Cancer Center’s director. In a Q&A, he discusses new discoveries, FDA approvals, how to deliver top-of-the-line cancer care, and more. “We don’t just talk about innovation,” Vonderheide says. “We do it.”

Read More


In Rare CAR-T Case, a Patient’s Cancer Cell Went Hiding in ‘Plain Sight’

In Rare CAR-T Case, a Patient’s Cancer Cell Went Hiding in ‘Plain Sight’

Marco Ruella, MD, an assistant professor of Hematology-Oncology, is quoted in stories detailing a case published in Nature Medicine in which a single leukemia cell – unknowingly engineered with the leukemia-targeting chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) lentivirus and infused back into a patient – was able to reproduce and cause a recurrence of acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) during an early clinical trial of the CAR T cell therapy. Ruella, the study’s lead author, called the finding “exceptionally rare,” and emphasized that the treatment is still the best and most likely the only option for many patients when other therapies fail. The findings, he said, also underline the importance of studying every patient who relapses after the treatment to find out why.

Communications placements

STAT News • X Talks


The Medicine, Miracles, and Masterminds Behind CAR T Cell Therapy

The Medicine, Miracles, and Masterminds Behind CAR T Cell Therapy

Oncology Times traces the history of the development of CAR T cell therapy for cancer, including interviews with Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center, and Stephen J. Schuster, MD, a professor of Hematology-Oncology and director of the Lymphoma Program in the Abramson Cancer Center.

Communications placement

Oncology Times


Seven Penn researchers receive NIH Director Awards

Seven Penn researchers receive NIH Director Awards

Aimee Payne (left) of Penn Medicine and Nicola Mason of Penn Vet are co-investigators on an NIH Director's Transformative Research Award that will support investigations into the use of immunotherapies to treat an autoimmune disease in pet dogs. Payne and Mason are among seven Penn researchers to win highly competitive NIH Director's awards this year.

Communications Placement

Penn Today


Cosmetics of Age

Cosmetics of Age

As reported in The Conversation, older skin heals with thinner scars. To understand why, Thomas Leung of the Perelman School of Medicine examined young and old mice. In older mice, the lack of a specific protein allowed them to regenerate wounded skin with no scarring. Based on this finding, Leung and his team are now testing a drug to prevent scar formation in humans.

Communications Placement

The Conversation



Sept 2018

The Revolution in Cancer: Remarkable 26 Percent Decline in Deaths ,$80 Billion a Year for Care

The Revolution in Cancer: Remarkable 26 Percent Decline in Deaths ,$80 Billion a Year for Care

Robert Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, director of the Abramson Cancer Center, comments on the American Association for Cancer Research’s annual report, noting, “The increasing number of new FDA-approved drugs for cancer represents tremendous progress in research-driven scientific discovery.”

Communications placement

SurvivorNet


Scientists Continue to Fine-Tune Gene Therapies

Scientists Continue to Fine-Tune Gene Therapies

As part of its “Best Hospitals” issue, U.S. News and World Report recaps the state of gene therapy. This includes the latest in CAR T cell therapy, developed at Penn by Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center, and specifically the ongoing CRISPR trial, led by Edward A. Stadtmauer, MD, section chief of Hematologic Malignancies in the Abramson Cancer Center.

Communications placement

U.S. News & World Report


Progress and Promis Against Canccer: A Biden Cancer Community Event

Progress and Promis Against Canccer: A Biden Cancer Community Event

The American Association for Cancer Research and WHYY partnered to host a Biden Cancer Community Event, and Robert Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, director of the Abramson Cancer Center, was one of the featured speakers. Just as Philadelphia was the focal point of the American Revolution, Vonderheide noted the city has also been pivotal in the immunorevolution, learning how to unleash the body’s immune system as a powerful weapon in defeating cancer.

Communications placement

Cancer Research Catalyst (AACR)


CAR T Pioneer on Speaking up for Science and His Funder Sean Parker

CAR T Pioneer on Speaking up for Science and His Funder Sean Parker

STAT News interviews Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center, about what led to the inception of CAR T therapy, the need to support science with greater research funding, and the role of Sean Parker and the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy in helping to pioneer innovative ways to fight cancer.

Communications placement

STAT News



Aug 2018

How the 'Other Malaria' Escaped from Africa

How the 'Other Malaria' Escaped from Africa

The parasite Plasmodium vivax isn’t as well known as its deadly cousin P. falciparum, which dominates sub-Saharan Africa. But the “other malaria,” which is rare in Africa, sickens some 75 million people a year in Asia and the Americas. A new study published this week inProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and led by Beatrice Hahn, MD, a professor of Microbiology and Medicine, describes how the parasite may have hitched a ride out of Africa with early human migrants.

Communications placements

Penn Medicine News Release • Science • GenomeWeb (login required)


Three Scientists Share $500,000 Prize for Work on Cancer Therapy

Three Scientists Share $500,000 Prize for Work on Cancer Therapy

Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center, will receive the 2018 Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research for his pioneering work in developing CAR T therapy, which became the nation’s first FDA-approved personalized cellular therapy for cancer in August 2017 and was approved for additional indications earlier this year. June is one of three scientists who will receive this year’s award, along with Steven A. Rosenberg, MD, PhD, chief of the Surgery Branch of the Center for Cancer Research at the National Cancer Institute, and James P. Allison, PhD, chair of Immunology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Communications placements

Penn Medicine Announcement • Associated Press • TimesUnion


Broad protection

Broad protection

Jorge Henao-Mejia, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, has received the Investigators in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease award from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, an independent foundation based in Research Triangle Park, NC dedicated to advancing the biomedical sciences. Henao-Mejia will receive $500,000 over five years, and was one of 12 recipients selected from 152 nominees nationwide.

Read more


High honor

High honor

Gene-therapy pioneer Carl June of the Perelman School of Medicine will receive the 2018 Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research. The honor is reserved for those “who have altered the course of medical research” and is one of the largest prizes in medicine and science in the United States. June and his team developed CAR T therapy, which became the nation’s first FDA-approved personalized cellular therapy for cancer in August 2017 and was approved for additional indications earlier this year.

Read more


The Ghost of Influenza Past and the Hunt for a Universal Vaccine

The Ghost of Influenza Past and the Hunt for a Universal Vaccine

Scott Hensley, PhD, an associate professor of Microbiology, comments in Nature about efforts to understand immunologic imprinting to manufacture better flu vaccines, noting, “The same vaccine given to different people will likely elicit different immune responses, depending on their history.”

Communications placement

Nature


How China Is Evolving from a Maker of Copycat Medicines into a Producer of Complex Drugs

How China Is Evolving from a Maker of Copycat Medicines into a Producer of Complex Drugs

The Wall Street Journal profiles a Chinese CAR T startup that has received the backing of Johnson & Johnson. Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center, comments on the company’s work and the current landscape of the industry.

Communications placement

The Wall Street Journal (login required)


Penn Medicine Immunologist Receives Early Career Honor from Burroughs Wellcome Fund

Penn Medicine Immunologist Receives Early Career Honor from Burroughs Wellcome Fund

Jorge Henao-Mejia, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, has received the Investigators in the Pathogenesis of Infectious Disease award from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, an independent foundation based in Research Triangle Park, NC dedicated to advancing the biomedical sciences. Henao-Mejia will receive $500,000 over five years, and was one of 12 recipients selected from 152 nominees nationwide.


Malaria culprit

Malaria culprit

Wild apes harbor malarial parasites that are nearly identical to those that cause disease in humans, according to research led by the Perelman School of Medicine’s Beatrice Hahn and grad student Dorothy Loy. The findings could help inform efforts to understand and eradicate the widespread infection.

Read more


Immunotherapy Researchers to Share Albany Prize

Immunotherapy Researchers to Share Albany Prize

Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center, will receive the 2018 Albany Medical Center Prize in Medicine and Biomedical Research for his pioneering work in developing CAR T therapy, which became the nation’s first FDA-approved personalized cellular therapy for cancer in August 2017 and was approved for additional indications earlier this year. June is one of three scientists who will receive this year’s award.

Communications placement

HemOnc Today (Healio)



July 2018

A CAR T Bottleneck: Centers that collect patient cells feel crunch

A CAR T Bottleneck: Centers that collect patient cells feel crunch

David L. Porter, MD, director of Blood and Marrow Transplantation and director of Cell Therapy and Transplantation in the Abramson Cancer Center, comments on the need for cell collection facilities to scale up as more cellular therapies like CAR T are approved.

Communications placement

STAT Plus (login required)


Avoiding bites

Avoiding bites

With diseases transmitted by insects on the rise, barbecues and woodland hikes can seem more risky than carefree. Sara Cherry (left) of the Perelman School of Medicine, Dustin Brisson of the School of Arts and Sciences, and James Lok and Michael Povelones of the School of Veterinary Medicine share insights about the new types and higher rates of vector-borne disease and offer practical tips for staying safe.

Read More


Swift Gene-Editing Method May Revolutionize Treatments for Cancer and Infectious Diseases

Swift Gene-Editing Method May Revolutionize Treatments for Cancer and Infectious Diseases

For the first time, scientists have found a way to efficiently and precisely remove genes from white blood cells of the immune system and to insert beneficial replacements, all in far less time than it normally takes to edit genes. E. John Wherry, PhD, a professor of Microbiology and director of the Institute for Immunology, comments on the findings.

Communications placements

New York Times • Bloomberg


Precision Car T Cell Therapeutics

Precision Car T Cell Therapeutics

Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center, speaks with eCancerat the 2018 WIN symposium about using CAR T cells in leukemia and lymphoma.

Communications placement

eCancer


The Coming Immunotherapy Revolution Is Our Greatest Hope Yet for Defeating Cancer

The Coming Immunotherapy Revolution Is Our Greatest Hope Yet for Defeating Cancer

Writing for The TelegraphRobert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, director of the Abramson Cancer Center, breaks down the most exciting advances in the fight against cancer, including CAR T cell therapy, which was recommended for approval Friday by the European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use.

Communications placement

The Telegraph (login required)


Penn-Developed CAR T Therapy Nears European Approval for DLBCL, ALL

Penn-Developed CAR T Therapy Nears European Approval for DLBCL, ALL

The European Medicines Agency’s Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use has recommended approval of the CAR T therapy known as Kymriah for the treatment of adults with diffuse large B-cell lymphoma or patients up to 25 years of age with B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center, is quoted.

Communications placement

OncLive



June 2018

CD40 may be key to activating immune responses in pancreatic cancer

CD40 may be key to activating immune responses in pancreatic cancer

Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, director of the Abramson Cancer Center, discusses four pancreatic trials currently underway at Penn, with a focus on the future of anti-CD40 therapies and their potential to prime the immune system.

Read More


Fighting Cancer Under the Stars

Fighting Cancer Under the Stars

The Cancer Support Community of Greater Philadelphia held its "25th Anniversary Evening in the Park Gala" and honored Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center, and the June lab for their commitment to the organization's mission and their work with cancer survivors.

Philadelphia Gay News


Penn Study Reveals New Therapeutic Target for Slowing the Spread of Flu Virus

Penn Study Reveals New Therapeutic Target for Slowing the Spread of Flu Virus

Influenza A (flu A) hijacks host proteins for viral RNA splicing and blocking these interactions caused replication of the virus to slow, according to new research published in Nature Communications by Kristin W. Lynch, PhD, chair of the department of Biochemistry and Biophysics in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, and doctoral student Matthew Thompson. 

Read More


More Research is Leading to More Cures for Cancer Patients

More Research is Leading to More Cures for Cancer Patients

The Philadelphia Sunday tells the story of an acute lymphoblastic leukemia patient who went into remission after receiving CAR T cell therapy. The story notes that the therapy was developed at Penn by Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center.

Philadelphia Sunday


Interconnected

Interconnected

Penn is known for its collaborative environment, and also for its groundbreaking health research, such as a productive partnership between Yvonne Paterson of the Perelman School of Medicine and the School of Nursing and Nicola Mason of the School of Veterinary Medicine. The One Health Communications Group, with representation across schools and centers, aims to promote awareness of these boundary-crossing studies.

Read More


OncoBreak: It Started with a Single CAR T Cell

OncoBreak: It Started with a Single CAR T Cell

New research from J. Joseph Melenhorst, PhD, an associate professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and Joseph A. Fraietta, PhD, an assistant professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, shows a leukemia patient treated at Penn in 2013 went into remission because of a single CAR T cell and the cells it produced as it multiplied, and has stayed cancer free in the five years since.

Read More


Roche’s Multiple Sclerosis Drug Ocrevus Lowered Patients’ Vaccine Responses

Roche’s Multiple Sclerosis Drug Ocrevus Lowered Patients’ Vaccine Responses

Roche’s multiple sclerosis drug Ocrevus was approved by the FDA last March bearing a warning about immunization. Research fromAmit Bar-Or, MD, FRCPC, chief of the Multiple Sclerosis division and director for the Center for Neuroinflammation and Experimental Therapeutics, shows the drug could weaken the effectiveness of certain vaccines.

Read More


New Insights to Improve CAR T Cell Safety

New Insights to Improve CAR T Cell Safety

Marco Ruella, MD, a clinical instructor in the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies and associate director of the June lab, comments on new research laying out new methods to better study the causes of the common CAR T toxicities cytokine release syndrome and neurotoxicity.

Read More


Researchers Use Immune-Cell 'Army' to Battle Another Touch Cancer

Researchers Use Immune-Cell 'Army' to Battle Another Touch Cancer

Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center, comments on an adoptive cell therapy approach that the National Cancer Institute reports has helped three cancer patients achieve remission.

Read More



May 2018

Weighing the Cost and Value of CAR T-Cell Therapy

Weighing the Cost and Value of CAR T-Cell Therapy

Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center, takes part in a discussion about the clinical benefit of CAR T-cell therapy and how oncologists and patients should evaluate the cost vs. the value.

Communications placement

ASCO Post


Molecular advantage

Molecular advantage

The stalemate derived from a prolonged battle between the immune system and chronic diseases and infections often leads to exhausted T cells, giving germs or tumors an advantage. Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine, led by John Wherry, discovered nine distinct types of these T cells, which could have implications for fighting chronic infections, autoimmune diseases, and cancer.

Read More


Alternative treatment

Alternative treatment

An FDA-approved, targeted therapy that’s had success fighting ovarian cancer in women with BRCA gene mutations may also help patients with aggressive pancreatic cancer who also have the mutations, according to a team led bySusan Domchek and Robert Vonderheide of the Perelman School of Medicine. By 2020, pancreatic cancer is projected to become the second-leading cause of cancer deaths, underscoring the need for more treatment options.

Read more


Robust biomarker

Robust biomarker

Researchers in the Perelman School of Medicine may have found the reason why some patients with advanced chronic lymphocytic leukemia don’t respond to chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapy. The answer is tied to how primed patients’ immune systems are before the therapy is administered. The team was led by J. Joseph Melenhorst and Joseph A. Fraietta and includes Carl June, David Porter, and researchers from Novartis.

Read More


Exhausted T Cells Come in Different Flavors

Exhausted T Cells Come in Different Flavors

Research led by E. John Wherry, PhD, a professor of Microbiology, found that exhausted T cells are a diverse set of immune cells dictated by different types of diseases, with implications for treating chronic infections, autoimmunity, and cancer.

Communications placement

Penn Medicine News Release • Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News


‘Tremendous Potential’ Against Pancreatic Cancer

‘Tremendous Potential’ Against Pancreatic Cancer

Research led by Gregory L. Beatty, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Hematology-Oncology, shows a new combination of immunotherapies has shown impressive results in targeting treatment-resistant pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma cancer.

Communications placement

DDNews


What’s Next for CAR T Cell Therapy at Penn

What’s Next for CAR T Cell Therapy at Penn

Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center, discusses what the future holds in the continued development of CAR T cell therapy.

Communications placement

Philadelphia Business Journal (login required)


CD40-Activating Monoclonal Antibodies Boost Response to Immunotherapy

CD40-Activating Monoclonal Antibodies Boost Response to Immunotherapy

Robert Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, director of the Abramson Cancer Center, theorizes that priming the immune system with an antagonist may lead to improved effectiveness in immunotherapies. Vonderheide suggests CD40 as one promising candidate.

Communications placement

Cancer Network


Potential for Immunotherapy in GI Malignancies

Potential for Immunotherapy in GI Malignancies

Gregory L. Beatty, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Hematology-Oncology and director of Translation Research in the Pancreatic Cancer Research Center in the Abramson Cancer Center, discusses the potential for immunotherapy in gastrointestinal malignancies.

Communications placement

OncLive


Cancer Vaccine

Cancer Vaccine

For dogs with osteosarcoma, a cancer of the bone, the standard treatment has been amputation combined with chemotherapy, and even that rarely staves off the cancer’s spread. Nicola Mason of the School of Veterinary Medicine is embarking on a new way to treat the disease, using a novel immunotherapy-based vaccine to prevent metastasis to other organs.

Read More



April 2018

Most Influential

Most Influential

Time magazine has named Carl June of the Perelman School of Medicine in its list of the world’s most influential people. The selection recognizes June’s work in developing CAR T therapy, approved last year for treatment of acute lymphoblastic leukemia in certain pediatric and young adult patients. “I’ve been fortunate that my work has given me the opportunity to improve the lives of others,” June says.

Read More


Pennsylvania Research Universities Are Changing the Way We Think About Big Pharma

Pennsylvania Research Universities Are Changing the Way We Think About Big Pharma

From transitioning to biologic medicines that cure diseases, to shifting drug development toward small startups that spin out of Pennsylvania research universities, Pennsylvania Business Daily traces the effect PA universities are having on life sciences. The article specifically highlights CAR T-cell therapy, developed by Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center.

Communications placement

Pennsylvania Business Daily


Cracking the Cancer Code: Can Immune Therapy Stop Tumors?

Cracking the Cancer Code: Can Immune Therapy Stop Tumors?

New research on CAR T-cell therapy reviews why solid tumors are defying technology that works well in blood cancers, and how the obstacles might be overcome. The study was led by Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and the director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center, and Michael C. Milone, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

Communications placement

Philadelphia Inquirer


Carl June Named One of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World

Carl June Named One of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People in the World

TIME named Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center, to its list of the 100 most influential people in the world in recognition of his pioneering work in the development of CAR T-cell therapy. Emily Whitehead, the first pediatric patient to receive the treatment, wrote the tribute associated with the honor.

Communications placement

Penn Medicine News Release • TIME • TIME (Full Gallery)


These are the Top Priorities for the Nation's Top Cancer Doctor

These are the Top Priorities for the Nation's Top Cancer Doctor

The Washington Post quotes Robert Vonderheide, MD, MPhil, director of the Abramson Cancer Center, for a story about Norman E. Sharpless, MD, director of the National Cancer Institute. “He is who we need now,” said Vonderheide, who trained with Sharpless. “He clearly understands what the future of cancer is, and what we should do and what we should not do.”

Communications placement

Washington Post (login required)


Cancer Breakthrough Leads China's Biotech Boom

Cancer Breakthrough Leads China's Biotech Boom

Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center, is quoted in a piece looking at China’s big bet on emerging cancer treatments, including CAR T-cell therapy.

Communications placement

Financial Times (login required)


Penn’s E. John Wherry Receives Stand Up to Cancer’s Innovation in Collaboration Award

Penn’s E. John Wherry Receives Stand Up to Cancer’s Innovation in Collaboration Award

E. John Wherry, PhD, co-leader of the Abramson Cancer Center’s Immunobiology Program and director of the Institute for Immunology at the University of Pennsylvania, has received a Phillip A. Sharp Innovation in Collaboration Award from Stand Up To Cancer (SU2C), the non-profit organization established by film and media leaders to support collaborative cancer research and increase awareness about cancer prevention.

Read More


South African Family Comes to Philadelphia for CAR T Treatment

South African Family Comes to Philadelphia for CAR T Treatment

Carte Blanche follows a family on its journey to Philadelphia to get CAR T-cell therapy for 6-year-old Mia Cara, who was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia. The segment featured an interview with Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center.

Communications placement

Carte Blanche (South Africa)


Pre-Surgical Immunotherapy Identiies Potential Benefit, Risk of Recurrence in Melanoma

Pre-Surgical Immunotherapy Identiies Potential Benefit, Risk of Recurrence in Melanoma

Research from Alexander C. Huang, MD, an instructor of Hematology Oncology, and Tara C. Mitchell, MD, an assistant professor of Hematology Oncology, shows that using anti-PD-1 therapy before surgery in melanoma patients can identify those most likely to benefit from the therapy after surgery. The study was presented at the American Association for Cancer Research 2018 Annual Meeting.

Communications placement

Cure Today


The “Immuno Revolution”: Turning Up the Heat on Resistant Tumors

The “Immuno Revolution”: Turning Up the Heat on Resistant Tumors

A promising class of drugs known as CD40 monoclonal antibodies could be the spark needed to light the fire in the immune system of patients who don’t respond to the newer cancer immunotherapies. Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, makes the case for the drugs in a new perspective piece published this week in Cancer Cell, as part of a series in the issue focusing on the next phase of the evolving field of cancer immunotherapy.

Read More: Penn Medicine News Release



March 2018

A Culture and Ecosystem of Innovation

A Culture and Ecosystem of Innovation

Daniel Powell, PhD, an associate professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, was featured in a Penn Today article about innovation and creativity among Penn faculty. Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center, and Jean Bennett, MD, PhD, a professor of Ophthalmology, were also mentioned.

Read More


Celebrating Penn’s Innovators

Celebrating Penn’s Innovators

The Penn Current covered the second annual Penn Celebration of Innovation. Dan Powell, PhD, an associate professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and Obstetrics and Gynecology; Yvonne Paterson, PhD, a professor of Microbiology; Drew Weissman, MD, PhD, a professor of Infectious Diseases; Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center; and Jean Bennett, MD, PhD, a professor of Ophthalmology, were mentioned.

Communications placement
Penn Current


Gut Microbes Protect Against Sepsis, According to Penn Mouse Study

Gut Microbes Protect Against Sepsis, According to Penn Mouse Study

Sepsis, otherwise known as blood poisoning, can be combatted with the right kind of gut microbes, according to professor David Allman and postdoctoral fellow Joel Wilmore of the Perelman School of Medicine. Their study showed that gut microbes triggered mice to produce more sepsis-fighting antibodies. They hope to extend their findings to treatment of sepsis in humans.

Read More


Despite Push for a Universal Flu Vaccine, the ‘Holy Grail’ Stays Out of Reach

Despite Push for a Universal Flu Vaccine, the ‘Holy Grail’ Stays Out of Reach

Scott Hensley, PhD, an associate professor of Microbiology, commented on a universal flu vaccine, in light of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases releasing a strategic plan for developing one. “This is a real sign that the [National Institutes of Health] is ready to make this push. So I’m excited about it,” Hensley said.


Communications placement
STAT


Ustekinumab Cuts Vascular Inflammation in Psoriasis

Ustekinumab Cuts Vascular Inflammation in Psoriasis

Research from Joel M. Gelfand, MD, MSCE, a professor of Dermatology and Epidemiology, shows ustekinumab, an antibody used to treat the skin disease psoriasis, is also effective at reducing aortic inflammation, a key marker of future risk of major cardiovascular events.

Communications placements

HealthDay News via Physician’s Briefing • Dermatology Times


Panel Discussion: Cancer Vaccines and T Cell Therapy

Panel Discussion: Cancer Vaccines and T Cell Therapy

Wharton Business Radio’s “The Business of Healthcare” hosted a panel discussion on the promise and progress of cancer vaccines and T cell therapy, featuring Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, director of the Abramson Cancer Center, Gerald P. Linette, MD, PhD, a professor of Hematology Oncology and medical director of the Sean Parker Institute of Cancer Immunotherapy at Penn, and E. John Wherry, PhD, a professor of Microbiology and director of the Institute for Immunology at Penn.

Listen to Panel



February 2018

Five Thoughts on ‘Conquering the Cancer Ecosystem’

Five Thoughts on ‘Conquering the Cancer Ecosystem’

Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, director of the Abramson Cancer Center, says oncologists have to consider the entire ecosystem of cancer in order to determine the best way to treat it. During the Philadelphia Business Journal’s first Cancer Summit, he gave five keys to understanding the environments where tumor cells exists and examining how cancer’s ecosystem adapts to changes and evolves to survive.

Communications placement

Philadelphia Business Journal (login required)


CRISPR In China: Cancer Treatment with Gene Editing Underway

CRISPR In China: Cancer Treatment with Gene Editing Underway

A story examining trials around the world that use the gene editing tool CRISPR includes the planned trial led by Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center, who is studying the tool’s ability to treat cancer.

Communications placement

NPR


Sepsis Could be Prevented by the Gut, Study Suggests

Sepsis Could be Prevented by the Gut, Study Suggests

The Daily Mail covers a new study by David Allman, PhD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and postdoctoral fellow Joel Wilmore, PhD, that showed that mice that had higher levels of a certain bacteria had better survival against sepsis.

Communications placement

Daily Mail (U.K.)


Cancer Therapy Poised for Rapid Advances, Noted Researcher Says

Cancer Therapy Poised for Rapid Advances, Noted Researcher Says

Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center, talks about ongoing research to provide more effective variations of CAR T therapy for various types of cancer.

Communications placement

San Diego Union-Tribune


Epigenetic Icebreaker Opens Developmental Passages in T Cells

Epigenetic Icebreaker Opens Developmental Passages in T Cells

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News covers a new study from the lab of Golnaz Vahedi, PhD, an assistant professor of Genetics, on an epigenetic mechanism explaining how transcription factor TCF-1 opens up tightly packed chromatin, leaving openings for other transcription factors.

Communications placement

Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News


How is Philadelphia Helping Lead the War Against Cancer?

How is Philadelphia Helping Lead the War Against Cancer?

The Philadelphia Business Journal’s first Cancer Summit will explore the role the Philadelphia region is playing in the battle against cancer on February 22. Researchers from Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center will be featured among the region’s top experts discussing the latest progress in their labs and at patients’ bedsides. Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, director of the Abramson Cancer Center, will deliver the event’s keynote address.

Communications placement

Philadelphia Business Journal


Stand Up to Cancer

Stand Up to Cancer

Partnering with machine-learning experts from Microsoft, E. John Wherry of the Perelman School of Medicine will co-lead a multidisciplinary team effort with experts in the life sciences, physical sciences, mathematics and engineering to look at critical aspects of the interaction between cancer and the immune system. The goal is to identify successful current treatments and develop new ones.

Read More


Can Gene Therapy Be Harnessed to Fight the AIDS Virus?

Can Gene Therapy Be Harnessed to Fight the AIDS Virus?

The Associated Press examines efforts to use gene therapy to improve treatment of AIDS. The article features an approach, led by James L. Riley, PhD, an associate professor of Microbiology, which knocks out the gene for the HIV entryway while also adding a gene to help T cells recognize and kill HIV.

Communications placement

Associated Press


Penn Immunologist Awarded SU2C “Convergence 2.0” Funding to Lead Team-Based Investigation of Gynecologic Cancer Therapies

Penn Immunologist Awarded SU2C “Convergence 2.0” Funding to Lead Team-Based Investigation of Gynecologic Cancer Therapies

 E. John Wherry, PhD, co-leader of the Abramson Cancer Center’s Immunobiology Program and director of Penn’s Institute for Immunology, and one of the most highly cited investigators in his field, has been awarded a “Convergence 2.0” research grant by Stand Up to Cancer (SU2C) to investigate immune system response to cancers. Wherry, the Richard and Barbara Schiffrin President’s Distinguished Professor of Microbiology and director of the Institute for Immunology at Penn, will co-lead an 11-member, multidisciplinary team effort called Connecting Immune Health and Tumor Biology in Gynecologic Cancers.

Read More


ASCO Names CAR T-Cell Therapy as Cancer Advance of the Year

ASCO Names CAR T-Cell Therapy as Cancer Advance of the Year

Saying that the treatment is “poised to transform the outlook for children and adults with certain otherwise incurable cancers,” the American Society of Clinical Oncology has selected CAR T-cell therapy as its 2018 Advance of the Year. David Porter, MD, director of Blood and Marrow Transplantation in the Abramson Cancer Center and a leader of the Penn Medicine team that developed the first FDA-approved CAR therapy, is quoted in an OncLive story about the announcement.

Communications placement

OncLive



January 2018

Is Your Flu Vaccine Effective?

Is Your Flu Vaccine Effective?

NBC10 reports on this year’s flu epidemic and the effectiveness of the flu vaccine. Scott Hensley, PhD, an associate professor of Microbiology, explains that it’s too early tell how effective this year’s vaccine really is, but emphasizes that getting the flu shot can lessen the length and severity of symptoms.

Communications placement

NBC10 (Clip)


Carl June’s Cancer Startup Raises $100 Million From Gilead, Sean Parker

Carl June’s Cancer Startup Raises $100 Million From Gilead, Sean Parker

TMunity, a biotechnology company founded around the work of cancer immunotherapy pioneer Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center, announced $100 million in new funding from investors, including Sean Parker’s Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, Gilead Sciences, and Be The Match.

ForbesPhiladelphia InquirerSan Francisco Business TimesEndpoints News


Remembering Leonard Jarett: Distinguished Scientist, Professor, and Penn Pathology Department Chair

Remembering Leonard Jarett: Distinguished Scientist, Professor, and Penn Pathology Department Chair

On Saturday, January 13, Leonard Jarett, MD, 81, a professor and chair of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine from 1980 to 1998, died of complications from Parkinson’s disease. He revamped the department to improve clinical service, teaching, and research, which “resulted in improvements in the quality and turnaround time of [test] results and increased [consultation],” said David B. Roth, MD, PhD, current chair of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine.

Philadelphia Inquirer


CAR T Cells: How to Cure Cancer with Your Own Cells

CAR T Cells: How to Cure Cancer with Your Own Cells

Reader’s Digest takes a deep dive into CAR T therapy and tells the stories of patients in some of the earliest trials at Penn Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. David L. Porter, MD, director of Blood and Marrow Transplantation at Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center, is quoted.

Communications placement

Reader’s Digest


China, Unhampered by Rules, Races Ahead in Gene-Editing Trials

China, Unhampered by Rules, Races Ahead in Gene-Editing Trials

Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center, is quoted in a Wall Street Journal article about preparations to test the gene-editing tool CRISPR-Cas9 in a cancer clinical trial at Penn Medicine.

Communications placement

Wall Street Journal


Flu Signature

Flu Signature

In a study published in Cell Reports, researchers led by Medicine’s E. John Wherry and Sarah Henrickson, also of CHOP, examined how immune responses vary based on factors such as age and previous exposure to viruses. They hope to identify key pathways involved in host-pathogen interactions and improve treatments for children with severe flu symptoms.

Read More


U.S. Doctors Plan to Treat Cancer Patients Using CRISPR

U.S. Doctors Plan to Treat Cancer Patients Using CRISPR

A team led by Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center, is about to begin a trial that will use CRISPR to modify human immune cells so that they become expert cancer killers.

Communications placement

Technology Review


Imune Training

Imune Training

George Hajishengallis of the School of Dental Medicine and an international team of colleagues have found that “training” the immune system causes changes in the precursors of immune cells in the bone marrow. These changes could facilitate a more robust response to future infections or even enable the immune system to regenerate faster after chemotherapy.

Read More


Oncologists Must Be Prepared to Inform Patients About Risks, Benefits of CAR T Therapies

Oncologists Must Be Prepared to Inform Patients About Risks, Benefits of CAR T Therapies

David L. Porter, MD, director of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, talks about the importance of educating patients about CAR T therapy.

Communications placement

Hem/Onc Today


Doctor with Rare Disease Racing to Save His Own Life

Doctor with Rare Disease Racing to Save His Own Life

David Fajgenbaum, MD, a research assistant professor of Translational Medicine and Human Genetics, is racing to find a cure for Castleman disease, an illness that is “like a mix between an autoimmune disease and a cancer.” Fajgenbaum is not only devoting his life to this cause for other patients – he’s been battling the rare and deadly disease himself since 2010. His story appeared on NBC’s “TODAY” Sunday Spotlight.

Communications placement

TODAY (NBC)


In a Milestone Year, Gene Therapy Finds a Place in Medicine

In a Milestone Year, Gene Therapy Finds a Place in Medicine

The Associated Press highlights major breakthroughs in gene therapies in 2017, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s approval of CAR T cell therapy, which was originally developed at Penn. Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center, is quoted.

Associated Press • Daily Beast


Furry Patients

Furry Patients

After Kyra debuted as the first dog to participate in a cancer-vaccineclinical trial, pets have become an integral part of human medical research. David Roth of the Perelman School of Medicine and Nicola Mason of the School of Veterinary Medicine have turned the tables by focusing instead on how animals can be treated with human therapies.

Read More


Penn Rare Disease Researcher Speaks from Experience at the Healthcare Summit

Penn Rare Disease Researcher Speaks from Experience at the Healthcare Summit

David Fajgenbaum, MD, MBA, a research assistant professor of Translational Medicine and Human Genetics, and one of Forbes’ “30 Under 30” alums, spoke at the magazine’s summit about his experience having a deadly disease. He was diagnosed with the rare condition known as Castleman’s disease during medical school and is now a researcher investigating new treatments for the disease.

ForbesForbes Live (Clip)


Why You Need the Flue Shot Every Year

Why You Need the Flue Shot Every Year

Scott Hensley, PhD, an associate professor of Microbiology, comments in the New York Times about why it’s a good idea to get a flu shot very year. “Our vaccine process is sort of always one step behind because of this long production process and trying to update the vaccine to what’s circulating.”

Read More



December 2017

CAR-T Therapy Leads to Durable Response in Lymphoma Study

CAR-T Therapy Leads to Durable Response in Lymphoma Study

Two studies led by Stephen J. Schuster, MD, director of the Lymphoma Program in the Abramson Cancer Center, show CAR T therapy can lead to high rates of durable remission for non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Schuster presented the results of a global, multi-site trial at the 2017 ASH Annual Meeting. The results of a pilot study with longer follow-up are published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

ReutersSTAT Plus News (login required) Endpoints NewsOncLiveHealio


Penn Medicine to Offer Womb Transplants After Successful Birth in Dallas

Penn Medicine to Offer Womb Transplants After Successful Birth in Dallas

After the announcement of the country’s first live birth following a uterus transplant at Baylor University Medical Center, 6ABC sat down with Kate O’Neill, MD, MTR, an assistant professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology, and Paige Porrett, MD, PhD, an assistant professor of Transplant Surgery – co-principal investigators on Penn’s Uterine Transplantation for Uterine Factor Infertility (UNTIL) trial – to discuss this milestone, the impact on the field, and the recent launch of the UNTIL trial.

6ABC • 6ABC (Clip)


Is it Time to Retire Cholesterol Tests?

Is it Time to Retire Cholesterol Tests?

Dan Rader, MD, chair of Genetics, comments in an article in Science magazine that questions the best test to gauge heart disease risk. “The data support that it’s the LDL particles themselves that are the bad actors,” rather than the cholesterol they contain, Rader said.

Read More


Genetic Programmers are the Next Startup Millionaires

Genetic Programmers are the Next Startup Millionaires

In a story about the race to develop new and better CAR T cells, the founder of a startup talks about taking his inspiration from Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center.

Read More
 



November 2017

Experts Tout the Power of Precision Medicine

Experts Tout the Power of Precision Medicine

Robert Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, director of the Abramson Cancer Center, was part of aU.S. News & World Report expert panel that discussed the challenges facing health care, and how the field must change to face the future.
Read More


Why Do We Still Grow Flu Vaccines in Chicken Eggs?

Why Do We Still Grow Flu Vaccines in Chicken Eggs?

Research from the lab of Scott Hensley, PhD, an associate professor of Microbiology, has found that manufacturing the flu vaccine in chicken eggs introduced mutations that reduced vaccine effectiveness. This problem is widely known among vaccine experts, but it was particularly bad last year for the H3N2 strain of flu that dominated the season.

Read More


New Gene Treatment Effective for Some Leukemia Patients

New Gene Treatment Effective for Some Leukemia Patients

Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center, is quoted in a New York Times story about a new CAR T approach targeting CD22 instead of CD19 for patients with leukemia.
Read More


CAR T-Cell Therapy: The New Frontier of Hope

CAR T-Cell Therapy: The New Frontier of Hope

Oncology Times tells the story of Emily Whitehead, the first pediatric patient to receive CAR T-Cell therapy for acute lymphoblastic leukemia. David L. Porter, MD, director of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, and part of Emily’s treatment team at Penn and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, is quoted.
Read More


Today's Aggressive Anti-Cancer Therapies Wouldn't Exist Without Early Struggles

Today's Aggressive Anti-Cancer Therapies Wouldn't Exist Without Early Struggles

Paul A. Offit, MD, chair of Vaccinology and the director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, writes about the early struggles of gene therapy and the side effect of cytokine release syndrome. He focuses on the team led by Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and the director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center, that has found a way to manage that effect during their research on CAR T cell therapies.
Read More


Flu Season Is Here, and Experts Are Already Concerned

Flu Season Is Here, and Experts Are Already Concerned

Coverage continues on new research from the lab of Scott Hensley, PhD, an associate professor of Microbiology, which concluded that growing the flu virus in chicken eggs introduced mutations that reduced the effectiveness. This problem was particularly bad for the H3N2 strain of flu last year, but this year’s vaccine may also be imperfect.
Read More


A Penn Scientist Says He Knows Why Last Year's Flue Vaccine Was So Bad

A Penn Scientist Says He Knows Why Last Year's Flue Vaccine Was So Bad

New research from the lab of Scott Hensley, PhD, an associate professor of Microbiology, has concluded that growing the flu virus in chicken eggs last year introduced mutations that reduced the effectiveness, which explains why many people who received flu shots got sick anyway. This problem is widely known among vaccine experts, but it was particularly bad last year for the H3N2 strain of flu that dominated the season.
Read More


CAR T-Cell Therapy Is Making Untreatable Cancer Treatable

CAR T-Cell Therapy Is Making Untreatable Cancer Treatable

The Daily Beast talks with David L. Porter, MD, director of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, about the current benefits and future promise of CAR T cell therapy.
Read More



October 2017

How Gut Bacteria Saved 'Dirty Mice' from Death

How Gut Bacteria Saved 'Dirty Mice' from Death

John Wherry, PhD, a professor of Microbiology, commented in a Science article about a study that transplanted gut bacteria from wild mice into “clean” lab mice. This “addition” made those rodents less likely to die from the flu or develop cancer.
Read More


Norovirus Evades Immune System by Hiding Out in Rare Gut Cells

Norovirus Evades Immune System by Hiding Out in Rare Gut Cells

PHILADELPHIA — Noroviruses  are the leading cause of non-bacterial gastroenteritis in the world and are estimated to cause 267 million infections and 20,000 deaths each year. Although often referred to as the “cruise ship” virus in the United States, noroviruses are an expensive and serious public health problem particularly among young children, the elderly, and immune-compromised patients. Now, in a new study published in Immunity this week, researchers E. John Wherry, PhD and Vesselin Tomov, MD from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, have used a mouse model to show that, even in immunized animals, noroviruses can escape the immune system and still spread by hiding out in an extremely rare type of cell in the gut.
Read More 


Circumventing Infection

Circumventing Infection

Disease-causing bacteria often attempt to shut down a host cell’s immune response in order to thrive. Research led by the School of Veterinary Medicine’s Igor Brodsky shows how host cells can fight back by triggering their own death to keep infections contained.
Read More


Viral Strategies

Viral Strategies

Led by Carolina López of the School of Veterinary Medicine, a team including researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine and the School of Engineering and Applied Science has resolved a paradox of viral infection. They’ve identified how a viral product can both trigger an immune response aimed at eliminating the virus or, conversely, allow the virus to survive and persist.
Read More


Why CAR-T Therapies Don't Work for Everyone Yet

Why CAR-T Therapies Don't Work for Everyone Yet

David L. Porter, MD, director of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, is quoted in a story exploring the reasons why CAR T therapy works for some patients but not for others.
Read More



September 2017

F.D.A. Approves First Gene-Altering Leukemia Treatment

F.D.A. Approves First Gene-Altering Leukemia Treatment

In a historic move in the fight against cancer, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved CAR T cell therapy for treatment of patients as old as 25 with a form of B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The personalized cellular therapy was developed at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), led by Carl June, MD, the Richard W. Vague Professor in Immunotherapy in Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center; and Stephan Grupp, MD, PhD, the Yetta Deitch Novotny Professor of Pediatrics at Penn, director of the Cancer Immunotherapy Frontier Program, and chief of Cell Therapy and Transplant at CHOP.
Read More


"Make the Best of it Bash" Donates $500,000 to Penn Medicine Melanoma Research

Robert Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, director of the Abramson Cancer Center (ACC), andL ynn Schuchter, MD, chief of Hematology/Oncology, are mentioned in an article about the Tara Miller Foundation’s “Make the Best of It Bash” donation of $500,000 to the ACC for melanoma research.
Read More


Barbara Netter's Lifesaving Role in New Cancer Treatment

Barbara Netter's Lifesaving Role in New Cancer Treatment

The Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy, founded in Connecticut by Barbara Netter and her late husband Edward, was one of the earliest supporters of CAR T cell therapy, which was recently approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration. Carl June, MD, a professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center, spoke about the role that initial support played in his research.
Read More


Cancer Research, Parker Institutes to Test I-O Combos for Pancreatic Cancer

Cancer Research, Parker Institutes to Test I-O Combos for Pancreatic Cancer

The Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy has launched its first trial, which will be led by Robert Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, the director of the Abramson Cancer Center. The trial, which has already begun enrolling patients, will evaluate combinations of immunotherapies with chemotherapy to treat pancreatic cancer.
Read More


Powerful Childhood Cancer Treatment Holds Promise - and Poses Hazards

Powerful Childhood Cancer Treatment Holds Promise - and Poses Hazards

Scientific American examines the promise of CAR T therapy, as well as the rates of recurrence and non-response among some patients. David L. Porter, MD, director of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, is quoted.
Read More


Abramson Cancer Center Appoints Deputy Director

Abramson Cancer Center Appoints Deputy Director

Katherine L. Nathanson, MD, has been named deputy director of Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania. An expert in the field of cancer genetics, Nathanson will oversee several aspects of the cancer center’s scientific and clinical missions.
Read More


Local Doctors Talk FDA Approval of Childhood Leukemia Treatment

Local Doctors Talk FDA Approval of Childhood Leukemia Treatment

David L. Porter, MD, director of Blood and Marrow Transplantation in the Abramson Cancer Center, and Noelle Frey, MD, MSCE, an assistant professor of Hematology Oncology, appeared on FOX29’s “Good Day Philadelphia” to discuss the approval of CAR T cell therapy by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The therapy was developed by a team at Penn’s Perelman School of Medicine and Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Additional coverage of the news continues worldwide.
Watch Video


Advances in Cancer Treatment

Advances in Cancer Treatment

Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, DPhil, director of the Abramson Cancer Center, and Stephan Grupp, MD, PhD, a professor of Pediatrics at Penn and director of the Cancer Immunotherapy Frontier Program at CHOP, appeared on WHYY’s “Radio Times” to discuss the latest advances in cancer treatment.
Read More



August 2017

How HIV became a Cancer Cure

How HIV became a Cancer Cure

The Wall Street Journal profiles Carl June, MD, a professor of Immunotherapy and director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Penn, and documents the journey of his CAR T cell therapy research, which is now on the verge of possible approval by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
Read More


Cancer Genetics Expert Katherine L. Nathanson, MD, Named Deputy Director of Abramson Cancer Center

Cancer Genetics Expert Katherine L. Nathanson, MD, Named Deputy Director of Abramson Cancer Center

Katherine L. Nathanson, MD, an internationally recognized expert in the field of cancer genetics, has been named deputy director of the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania.
Read More

 


Penn Cancer Research Called

Penn Cancer Research Called "Newest Miracle Cure"

An article in Philadelphia magazine investigates CAR T cell therapy and the efforts of Penn’s Abramson Cancer Center and the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to get the treatment approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration.
Read More


Studying mosquitoes with west nile virus, how to stop it from spreakding

Studying mosquitoes with west nile virus, how to stop it from spreakding

Sara Cherry, PhD, a professor of Microbiology, discusses research on mosquito-borne diseases in light of a local increase in West Nile Virus found in area mosquito monitoring.
News Clip


This beast kills at least 500,000 people a year; a Penn scientist is trying to stop it

This beast kills at least 500,000 people a year; a Penn scientist is trying to stop it

For as long as humans have shared the planet with mosquitoes, the goal has been to get rid of the winged pests, or at least keep them at bay. Drain the swamp. Spray the landscape. Put up screens and netting. And if all else fails — thwack!

Biologist Michael Povelones has a far more sophisticated, if subtle, approach in mind: Boosting the insects' immune system.
Read More



July 2017

Cancer cells force normal cells to mimic viruses to help tumors spread, resist treatment

Cancer cells force normal cells to mimic viruses to help tumors spread, resist treatment

In a study that could explain why some breast cancers are more aggressive than others, researchers say they now understand how cancer cells force normal cells to act like viruses, allowing tumors to grow, resist treatment, and spread. The study was led by Andy J. Minn, MD, PhD, an associate professor of Radiation Oncology. 
Read More


Cancer stem cells target of new grant to UCSD scientists

Cancer stem cells target of new grant to UCSD scientists

An article in the San Diego Union-Tribune about new immunotherapy research efforts in California mentions pioneering CAR T cell research led by Carl June, MD, director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies.
Read More


One big cancer breakthrough is likely on the way to patients. Here's what may be coming next

One big cancer breakthrough is likely on the way to patients. Here's what may be coming next

In a piece for STAT News, David Porter, MD, director of Blood & Marrow Transplantation in the ACC, discusses the “CAR T revolution” and the continuing development of personalized cellular therapies. The FDA is poised to formally approve the sale of CAR T therapy by Novartis, Penn’s collaborator to research and develop CTL019.
Read More


Diabetes Causes Shift in Oral Microbiome That Fosters Periodontitis, Penn Study Finds

Diabetes Causes Shift in Oral Microbiome That Fosters Periodontitis, Penn Study Finds

People with diabetes are susceptible to periodontitis, a gum infection that can result in tooth loss. New research led by Dana Graves of the School of Dental Medicine helps explain why: Diabetes triggers changes in the oral microbiome that enhance inflammation and the risk of bone loss.
Read More