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Immunotherapy Research

Research in immunotherapy spans from direction of clinical trials to basic molecular studies of cancer biology, immunotherapy and development of novel agents, and to mitigating the late effects of treatment in long-term survivors. The Immunotherapy Program is dedicated to integrating laboratory and clinical research to increase our understanding of childhood cancer and to develop new, more effective therapies for these diseases.

Researchers in the Immunotherapy Program at Texas Children’s Cancer and Hematology Centers specialize in translating exciting preclinical developments from the laboratory to the clinic—moving therapies literally from bench-to-bedside.

Our researchers focus on enhancing current immunotherapy treatments, while finding new ways to integrate this promising targeted therapy earlier in the treatment of childhood cancer, thus reducing the toxicity of standard treatments.

Importantly, our disease-specific treatment teams coordinate closely with our immunotherapy experts, ensuring our research integrates the cutting-edge advances we have made in all aspects of cancer research, including targeted genomic and molecular therapies. Our physician-scientist researchers specialize in the care of patients with the same diseases we are studying in the laboratory. They work closely with laboratory scientists to develop and test promising immunotherapy strategies for all types of pediatric cancer.

Our researchers are pioneers in developing ‘CAR’ T or NK-T cells. These supercharged immune cells are genetically modified to target certain proteins on cancers that have otherwise been resistant to traditional therapies.

In addition, we are also leading innovative new studies of virus-specific T cells. These immune cells use viral proteins which train T cells to recognize and better attack cancer.

The Immunotherapy Program conducts first-in-human clinical trials to treat patients with resistant, relapsed or refractory leukemias, lymphomas, brain tumors and solid tumors.

In addition, we have dedicated, state-of-the-art hematology, cytogenetics, flow cytometry and molecular pathology laboratories. These laboratories conduct comprehensive testing to provide timely and accurate patient results. Since many of the innovative immunotherapies we offer are created within the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy (CAGT), we have the ability to go “back to the laboratory bench” to make discoveries into each individual patient's circumstance; we anticipate that these discoveries will benefit countless patients with similar types of cancer.