Leukemia Research Foundation News

Researchers Harness the Thymus to Achieve Long-Term Remission in Pediatric Patients

Chimeric receptor antigen (CAR) T cells are transforming blood cancer treatments. While the therapies can induce remission in most cases, long-term disease control remains a major challenge, especially in pediatric and young adult patients with high-risk blood cancers. 

Johannes Zakrzewski, MD, from Hackensack Meridian Center for Discovery and Innovation, was recently awarded a $2.78M grant from the National Institutes of Health and National Cancer Institute to investigate ways to harness the body’s natural ability to create CAR T cells to achieve long-term remission in pediatric blood cancer patients.

“This is translational science. We hope to help patients in new critical ways in the future using the latest lab discoveries,” said Dr. Zakrzewski.

The research focuses on a new approach that educates the thymus to manufacture tailored immune cells that continue to keep blood cancers in check for years after remission. The method is minimally invasive and a relatively simple and low-toxic clinical procedure.

The research is based on the laboratory’s years of published and unpublished data supported by various grants and groups, including the Leukemia Research Foundation.

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