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Rimas J. Orentas, Ph.D.

Portait Photo of Rimas Orentas
Pediatric Oncology Branch
Immunology Section
Associate Scientist
Center for Cancer Research
National Cancer Institute
Building 10 - Hatfield CRC, Room 1-3840
Bethesda, MD 20892-1104


Rimas received his B.S. in Microbiology from the University of Maryland, College Park and his Ph.D. from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Department of Pharmacology and Molecular Sciences. After post-doctoral studies and appointment as a Research Associate in the Johns Hopkins Oncology Center, he joined the faculty of the Medical College of Wisconsin where he rose to the rank of Associate Professor in the Department of Pediatrics, Section of Hematology-Oncology with joint appointments in the Department of Medicine and the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics. Rimas was then recruited to Lentigen, Corp., in Gaithersburg, MD where he served as director of Oncology and Biological Therapeutics, focusing on lentivirus-based gene therapy for monogenic disorders, engineering of hematopoietic stem cells, and generation of tumor-specific T cell effector populations. Rimas joined the Pediatric Oncology Branch in 2009, where he continues his work on the engineering of T lymphocytes for the adoptive immunotherapy of cancer.


My interest is the immunotherapy of cancer. Bioinformatic approaches are being developed to identify antigenic targets that are uniquely or over-expressed on pediatric tumors and leukemias. To date this has primarily focused on gene expression profiling, but we are now incorporating next-generation sequencing technologies to more fully describe the landscape available for immune targeting.

Focusing on known targets (such as the antigens GD2, ALK, or CD22), as well as new targets we have identified, we then design unique binding sequences that can then be engineered into chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). T cells transduced with genetic vectors to express CARs are being evaluated for their potential in the adoptive immunotherapy of cancer. How best to engineer T lymphocytes to express CARs and the biology of genetically engineered T cells in vitro and in in vivo model systems of disease are all used to gauge the translational potential of the therapeutic CAR structures generated.

This page was last updated on 7/14/2014.