Barbara Savoldo, MD, PhD
University of North Carolina Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center researcher Barbara Savoldo, MD, PhD, has been awarded a $600,000, 3-year grant from to support research of an immunotherapy being developed. The grant will help fund clinical research into an investigational chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia that would include a built-in “safety switch.” The project was 1 of 17 immunotherapy projects recently funded by The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society as part of an effort to drive progress in the revolutionary therapies that harness the body’s own immune system to fight cancer.
Dr, Savoldo and her team are focused on developing a “safety switch” that can halt the expansion of infused T cells, should a patient experience treatment toxicities. This approach, if successful, could reduce potentially lethal side effects of CAR T-cell treatment for acute lymphoblastic leukemia, including cytokine-release syndrome.
“There is never a good time to get cancer, but it’s a phenomenal time to be fighting it,” Louis J. DeGennaro, PhD, Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society is doing more than any cancer nonprofit to advance the next generation of blood cancer treatments and cures, and, in doing so, we are helping patients with other cancers and chronic diseases. Already in 2017, the [U.S. Food and Drug Administration] has approved 13 new blood cancer treatments, and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has supported virtually all of them. Our long-term vision and investment is paying off in our impact for patients.” ■