Dr. Laurence J. N. Cooper
The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center
Department of Pediatrics
- T-cell therapy
- Gene therapy
- Hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation
- Bone marrow transplantation
- Development of immunological approaches to treat pathogens and malignancies
My laboratory works to translate basic immunologic concepts into therapeutic trials using a research plan built upon the premise that augmenting a host's immune response through adoptive transfer of NK cells and T cells can eliminate infection and malignant cells. Currently, we are using a strategy to selectively enhance a patient's immunity by infusing NK cells and T cells that have been rendered specific for pathogens and neoplasms, in compliance with current good manufacturing practice for Phase I/II trials.
My research is divided into several areas:
(i) Pre-clinical data to generate second-generation adoptive immunotherapy trials
(ii) Application of NK and T-cell therapy in clinical trials
(iii) Correlative studies
For example novel immunotherapy for treatment of B-cell leukemia, lymphoma, and multiple myeloma are being designed for clinical trials using T cells genetically modified to express chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). These CARs redirect the specificity of NK cells and T cells from umbilical cord blood and peripheral blood for desired cell surface tumor antigens. Non-invasive imaging technology using bioluminescence and positron emission tomography are used to describe the persistence and distribution of the infused cells. Gene transfer is accomplished using non-viral and viral vectors. Ex vivo expansion technology uses artificial antigen cells to propagate the genetically modified lymphocytes. Complex expression vectors are used to probe the activation state of the genetically modified cells as well as co-express suicide genes for conditional ablation in vivo should toxicities arise. Mouse animal models are used to asses the therapeutic potential of the genetically modified lymphocytes. These data sets form the basis of gene therapy clinical trials. Follow up studies from the recipients evaluate not only the safety and feasibility of the immunotherapy, but also determine the biodistribution of the infused cells and evaluate how we can improve the immunotherapeutic potential.