B-cell malignancies – cancers arising from blood cells – comprise a large number of different types of lymphomas and leukemia, which collectively represent the sixth leading cause of cancer death in the United States. New treatments, including various immunotherapy approaches, are under active development and testing. These immunotherapy approaches predominantly utilize immune system’s “killer” T cells to identify and kill cancer cells, but they lead to long-lasting relief and benefit only in a fraction of patients with B cell cancers. Therefore, Dr. Baochun Zhang is exploring alternative immune-based treatment approaches for patients.
Specifically, Dr. Zhang is investigating how “helper” T cells—which normally lack the ability to kill cancer cells—might be used to target these blood-based cancers through treatment. His team is seeking to develop a novel approach to rapidly produce helper T cells capable of killing cancerous B cells, first by evaluating and characterizing their anti-cancer capabilities in preclinical models of B cell cancer. If successful, Zhang will then prepare to translate this approach to the clinic, where it could potentially provide a valuable new option for patients with various B cell cancers.
Projects and Grants
Developing a multiantigen-targeting cytotoxic CD4+ T cell approach for treating B-cell malignancies
Dana-Farber Cancer Institute | Leukemia, Lymphoma | 2020
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