CITY OF HOPE recently received $7.5 million in grant awards to study the rare blood cancer cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. The National Cancer Institute (NCI) awarded two grants valued at $6.3 million over 5 years to City of Hope’s Steven Rosen, MD, and Christiane Querfeld, MD, PhD, so they can develop improved therapies for cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS) also gave the pair 2 individual grants totaling $1.2 million over 3 years. Drs. Rosen and Querfeld will approach the lymphoma from different angles in their respective laboratories.
Dr. Rosen’s Research
Steven Rosen, MD
DR. ROSEN, City of Hope’s Irell & Manella Cancer Center Director’s Distinguished Chair, has been researching cutaneous T-cell lymphoma since the 1980s. He has identified novel groups of targets to advance the development of therapeutic compounds for this disease. His NCI and LLS grant awards will build the foundational knowledge scientists need to develop targeted drug therapies for people with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma. Specifically, he will look at molecular regulators like p38γ, a protein kinase that is overexpressed in cutaneous T-cell lymphoma cells but not in healthy immune T cells.
City of Hope’s skin lymphoma programs are housed in the Toni Stephenson Lymphoma Center. Its multidisciplinary Cutaneous Lymphoma Program includes dermatologists, medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, dermatopathologists, nurses, social workers, and supportive care services.
Dr. Querfeld’s Research
Christiane Querfeld, MD, PhD
DR. QUERFELD, Chief of Dermatology and Director of City of Hope’s Cutaneous Lymphoma Program, and a Schwartz Ward Family Foundation LLS Scholar, has been studying and treating patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma for 17 years. She will use her grants to advance her clinical phase I/II trial that looked at immune checkpoint programmed cell death protein 1/programmed cell death ligand 1 inhibition. Her team will map the communication network among the disease’s cellular, molecular, and immunologic microenvironment. Blocking or silencing certain communication networks could eliminate tumors or cancers, she said.
“The result of this newly funded study will allow physicians to use personalized medicine for certain patients with [cutaneous T-cell lymphoma],” Dr. Querfeld said. “We will identify potential therapeutic targets and correlative markers that help guide immunotherapy treatments.” ■