Helen E. Heslop, MD
Dr. Helen Heslop is Director of the Adult Stem Cell Transplant Program in the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy (CAGT) and Interim Director of the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy (CAGT). Her research interests are in augmenting anti-viral and anti-tumor immunity following transplant and she co-directs the CTL program with Dr. Cliona Rooney. The CTL group consists of faculty members, including:
and many postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and technicians who work in the translational research laboratories or the GMP facility as well as clinical research coordinators.
This group has shown that adoptively transferred CTLs are successful in preventing or eradicating EBV-LPD post BMT and are currently evaluating CTLs in other EBV associated malignancies including Hodgkin’s disease and nasopharyngeal cancer, in which the tumor cells are less immunogenic. They are also using similar approaches to generate antiviral CTLs specific for CMV and adenovirus for administration to patients post transplant and are evaluating the use of 3rd party cells to extend applicability.
Overcoming tumor evasion strategies by identifying novel tumor antigens and genetic modification of CTLs
Other areas of research focus include identification of novel tumor antigens and genetic modification of CTLs to overcome tumor evasion strategies. In collaboration with Dr. Malcolm Brenner's and Dr. Dotti’s groups, they are also evaluating if transduction of CTLs with chimeric antigen receptors can allow targeting of CD19+ve, CD30+ve and her2neu+ve malignancies.