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Texas Medical Center

Phone: 832-824-4662
Fax: 832-825-4668


1102 Bates Ave., Ste. 1640.06
Houston, TX 77030

Helen E. Heslop, MD, DSc (Hon)

Dan L. Duncan Chair, Baylor College of Medicine
Director, Center for Cell and Gene Therapy, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Methodist and Texas Children’s Hospital
Associate Director for Clinical Research, Dan L. Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine
Professor, Departments of Pediatrics and Medicine, and Center for Cell and Gene Therapy, Baylor College of Medicine
Leader, Cancer Cell & Gene Therapy, Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center, Baylor College of Medicine


School Education Degree Year
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital Fellowship Oncology Research 1991
Royal Free Hospital Fellowship Hematology-Oncology 1989
Christchurch Hospital and Medical Center Residency Internal Medicine 1985
Christ Hospital and Medical Center Internship Internal Medicine 1984
University of Otago, New Zealand Medical School Doctor of Medicine 1980
University of Otago, New Zealand MB, ChB 1980


Organization Name Role
American Society of Blood and Marrow Transplantation (ASBMT) Past President
American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy President, 2017-2018
Association of American Physicians (AAP) Elected Member
Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation, Molecular Therapy Associate Editor
Bone Marrow Transplantation
Foundation for Accreditation of Cell Therapy Past President

Research Statement

Dr. Helen Heslop is a physician-scientist engaged in translational research focusing on adoptive immunotherapy with gene-modified effector cells, to improve hemopoietic stem cell transplantation and cancer therapy. A key step in this strategy has been the translation of laboratory findings to Phase I and II clinical trials, as exemplified by studies of Epstein Barr virus-induced lymphoproliferative disease (EBV-LPD), a fatal complication in about 15% of recipients of unrelated or mismatched family member bone marrow transplants in the early 1990s.

In collaboration with Dr. Cliona Rooney, she developed methods for early diagnosis of this disease and procedures for generating cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) from bone marrow donors. These studies were the first to demonstrate that antigen-specific cytotoxic T cells could eradicate an established malignancy and because the cells were genetically marked, we obtained definitive evidence of cell expansion, trafficking to tumor sites and decade-long persistence. Subsequent protocols have extended this approach to Hodgkin's Disease, NHL and nasopharyngeal cancer.

She has an additional focus in reconstituting antiviral immunity post transplant in collaboration with Drs. Rooney, Leen and Bollard and is currently leading an NHLBI-funded multicenter trial of allogeneic multivirus specific T cells. She therefore has extensive experience in developing and conducting transplant studies and cell and gene therapy studies under IND and has also obtained orphan drug designation for my initial study. Other areas of research focus in collaboration include identification of novel tumor antigens and genetic modification of CTLs to overcome tumor evasion strategies.

In collaboration with Drs. Brenner, Dotti, Savoldo, Gottschalk and Ahded group they are also evaluating if transduction of CTLs with chimeric antigen receptors can allow targeting of CD19+ve, CD30+ve and her2neu+ve malignancies.

Dr.  Heslop’s research interests focus on adoptive immunotherapy for malignancy and viral infections. Dr. Heslop oversees several peer-reviewed clinical research projects, including:

  • An NCI-funded program project grant (Enhancing T-Cell Therapy of Cancer),
  • A SPORE grant in Lymphoma, and
  • A Leukemia and Lymphoma Society Specialized Center of Research (SCOR) award.

Dr. Helen Heslop is a Doris Duke Distinguished Clinical Scientist and has extensive experience in mentoring both clinical and laboratory trainees. Dr. Heslop is also the principal investigator on an NHLBI-funded training grant in Cell and Gene Therapy. She has extensive experience with clinical cell therapy studies, and serves with Dr. Malcolm Brenner and Bambi Grilley as sponsor for over 20 active cell and gene therapy therapy INDs.

Clinical Interests
Immunotherapy of malignancies with antigen specific T cells
Immunotherapy with antigen specific T cells to prevent and treat viral infections post transplant

Research Interests
Adoptive immunotherapy for malignancy and viral infections
Clinical cell therapy studies

Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (FRACP)
Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (FRCPA)

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2019               Lifetime Achievement Award, American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation, 2019
2012-2015     President, Foundation for Accreditation Cell Therapy



* Texas Children's Hospital physicians' licenses and credentials are reviewed prior to practicing at any of our facilities. Sections titled From the Doctor, Professional Organizations and Publications were provided by the physician's office and were not verified by Texas Children's Hospital.