Jianguo Tao, MD, PhD, and Michael E. Williams, MD, have been awarded a four-year, $3 million Synergistic Team Award (STA) from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) to understand resistance mechanisms and enhance chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) immunotherapy for mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), an aggressive type of B-cell lymphoma.
Dr. Tao, a hematopathologist and physician-scientist in the Department of Pathology and the UVA Comprehensive Cancer Center (UVACCC), assembled a national team of leaders in lymphoma treatment and research to tackle current obstacles in understanding and treating MCL. Dr. Williams is the Byrd S. Leavell Professor of Medicine and associate director for clinical affairs in the UVACCC, and has a long-standing translational and clinical research focus in MCL.
The ultimate goal of this STA is to develop therapies with curative intent for patients with MCL focusing primarily on enhancing CAR-T cell and targeted small molecule therapeutics. The study is to shift current treatment paradigms and clinical practice by introducing, developing, and applying new concepts and technologies to address relapsed MCL. The goal will be addressed by three focused, independent but highly integrated teams and projects from UVA, the University of Pennsylvania and MD Anderson Cancer Center that utilize state-of-the-art genomic technologies, patient-derived xenograft models, clinical data, and primary MCL samples to improve next generation therapeutics for relapsed MCL patients.
The team of UVA basic and clinical investigators also includes Craig Portell, MD, Chongzhi Zang, PhD, and Jeffrey Craig, MD, PhD, of the UVACCC. The LLS-awarded program is recognized as a worldwide leader in lymphoma research and treatment by providing significant advances in targeted and immunotherapy response and resistance mechanisms in MCL as well as other hematologic malignancies.