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Daniel W. Lee, M.D.
Survival rates for childhood malignancies have been stagnant, mostly due to a lack of new therapies with novel mechanisms of action. With recent technology advances, adoptive cellular therapy, a type of immunotherapy, is now poised to improve outcomes for both children and adults with cancer. As a fellow, Dr. Lee determined that small doses of T cells genetically engineered to express a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) targeting the pre-B acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL) antigen, CD19, could reproducibly cure mice engrafted with ALL. He led efforts to generate GMP-grade anti-CD19 CAR T cells, the first of their kind, produced in the Cell Processing Section, Department of Transfusion Medicine at the NIH. He now serves as the Principal Investigator on a Phase I clinical trial of these CAR T cells for the treatment of children and young adults with B-cell malignancies (NCT01593696).
His laboratory efforts are directed at using the experience gained in the clinical trial to inform the next generation of CAR T cells. Through a better understanding of how CARs work in various subsets of T cells, Dr. Lee aims to improve the anti-tumor potential and persistence of these cells after infusion to the patient. For example, T stem cell memory cells (Tscm) are naturally occurring cells possessing a unique collection of properties that, if redirected to tumor antigen via a CAR, may lead to improved outcomes.
This page was last updated on 3/31/2014.