The CIO Clinical Research area of investigation emphasizes innovative investigator-initiated studies involving the use of novel immunotherapeutic agents and strategies designed to modulate the immune response of cancer patients toward clinical benefit. This includes cellular therapy, immune checkpoint blockade, therapeutic and preventive vaccines, immunocytokines and bispecific / multispecific antibodies. In addition, preclinical cellular therapy research and correlative studies are conducted. Our researchers work closely with scientists in the Translational Research area of the CIO toward hypothesis-generating strategies that are seamlessly translated into science-driven clinical studies. As Co-Director of the CIO, Dr. James L. Gulley directs the Clinical Research area of investigation.
Combination IO Group: Dr. Julius Strauss (Associate Research Physician, Head). This group conducts novel clinical trials of experimental immunotherapy agents including vaccines, cytokines, immune checkpoint modulators and bispecific antibodies in rational combination approaches.
Solid Tumor Cellular Therapy Group: Dr. Scott Norberg (Staff Clinician, Head). This group conducts novel clinical trials utilizing novel T-cell receptor (TCR) engineered T-cells, chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells, NK cells and other cellular therapy approaches.
Hematologic Malignancies Cellular Therapy Group: Dr. Kazusa Ishii (Physician-Scientist Early Investigator, Head). This group conducts translational and clinical research on cellular therapy approaches for hematologic malignancies.
Transplantation and Immunotherapy Section: Dr. Christopher Kanakry (Investigator, Head). This section conducts research in hematopoietic cell transplantation, spanning both laboratory studies in transplantation immunology and graft-versus-host disease and clinical studies translating these new understandings and others to the clinic in early phase clinical trials.
Cellular Therapy Translational Group: Dr. Ling Zhang (Staff Scientist, Head). This group conducts preclinical research on novel strategies to enhance T cell based cellular therapy for the treatment of cancer with synthetic engineering technology and supporting translation of findings into clinical studies.
Tumor Immune Microenvironment Lab: Dr. Wiem Lassoued (Staff Scientist, Head). The facility focuses on developing tissue-based approaches such as multiplex immunofluorescence and whole slide multispectral imaging to study the complex interaction between the tumor and its surrounding immune cells in preclinical and clinical studies.