Jianguo Tao, PhD

Funded by the V Foundation’s Virginia Vine event

Diffuse large B-cell lymphoma (DLBCL) is a common and aggressive type of malignant B-cell tumor. Despite progress in lymphoma treatment, up to 40% of patients will ultimately succumb to their disease. Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells (CAR-T) are immune cells from patients where a patient’s own white blood cells are isolated and engineered to target and kill tumor cells. CAR-T cell therapies demonstrated an entirely new paradigm for cancer therapy and produced unprecedented initial responses in patients of relapsed or refractory DLBCL. However, our group and others recently observed that over half of patients on CAR-T therapy eventually had disease relapse and fatal progression due to development of resistance. Thus, there is an urgent need to improve the efficacy of response and delay or prevent CAR-T therapy resistance. To tackle this major obstacle, my group has developed sophisticated models and expertise to develop a novel strategy to target the tumor in a more precise, personalized manner to overcome chemo-, targeted- and CAR-T therapy resistance. Ultimately, we will rationally design and test the improved and safe combinations of CART with the newly discovered inhibitor for DLBCL therapy. The outcomes of this study have broad applicability 1) improve the current standard of care by overcoming refractory and relapsed DLBCL current therapy resistance, 2) enhance the CAR-T therapy efficacy, and 3), we anticipate, can be readily translated to improve quality of life and/or length of life and has immediate impact on DLBCL patient care.

Location: UVA Health System: Cancer Center - Charlottesville
Proposal: Defining mechanisms of therapy resistance to CDK9 inhibitor (CDK9i) treatment in aggressive large B-cell lymphoma
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