Dr. Ann Leen’s research interests involve using cytotoxic T cells (CTL) for the prophylaxis and treatment of virus-associated malignancies. She is a member of the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy (CAGT).
In previous clinical trials Dr. Leen and Dr. Bollard have demonstrated that ex vivo-expanded, trivirus-specific T-cells, targeting EBV, CMV, and Adenovirus are safe and effective as prophylaxis and treatment. To extend the number of viruses which can be targeted using CTL therapy, Dr. Leen is currently analyzing the T cell immune response directed against multiple other critical viruses that are clinically important, namely RSV, parainfluenza, influenza, BK virus, HHV-6, and metapneumoviruses. Then, to shorten and simplify the production of virus-specific T-cells, Dr. Leen is evaluating the benefits of a single stimulation to amplify multivirus-specific T-cells for adoptive transfer.
She is also developing methods to allow the generation of CTL lines directed against tumor antigens expressed in lymphoma. The main focus of her attention is Survivin and SSX2, tumor antigens that are overexpressed by a large number of malignancies including Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and other B cell Lymphomas. The overall goal will be to develop a method, which will allow the production of tumor-specific CTL in the GMP facility that can subsequently be delivered to patients with relapsed lymphoma.
Dr. Ann Leen’s research laboratory is part of the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine.
Pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplantation