Grants - V Scholar Grants - New York - 2021

Melody Smith, MD

FUNDED BY THE STUART SCOTT MEMORIAL CANCER RESEARCH FUND WITH SUPPORT FROM BRISTOL MYERS SQUIBB

For a patient with a blood cancer that has not responded to standard treatment, an allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplant (allo-HCT; also referred to as bone marrow transplant) provides the potential for a cure. However, there is still the possibility that the patient’s disease may relapse. Another potential risk of allo-HCT may result when the immune cells from the bone marrow see the recipient as foreign, leading to a complication called graft versus host disease (GVHD). In this approach, I will investigate the use of an allo-HCT followed by donor immune cells targeted to kill the tumor, CD19-targeted chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells. Additionally, to improve the safety of the donor T cells I will utilize genetic engineering with CRISPR/Cas9 to remove the T cell receptor. Hence, I will also evaluate the functional and mechanistic impact of this genome engineering on the immunometabolism of the T cells.