Mesothelioma researcher and Meso Foundation grant recipient Prasad S. Adusumilli, MD, FACS, FCCP, of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) was an author on the review article CAR T-cell therapy for lung cancer and malignant pleural mesothelioma recently published in Translational Research: The Journal of Laboratory and Clinical Medicine.
Dr. Adusumilli is a thoracic surgeon-scientist at MSKCC with expertise in the treatment of cancers in the chest. His laboratory research is focused on studies of cancer immunology and immunotherapy of pleural mesothelioma, and his laboratory has developed chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy for thoracic cancers.
Dr. Adusumilli was the recipient of two research grants from the Meso Foundation; most recently in 2016 for his project CAR T cells with TGF-ß resistant cell-intrinsic strategies for mesothelioma, as well as in 2009 for his project WT-1 targeted adoptive T-cell therapy for malignant pleural mesothelioma.
We recently spoke with Dr. Adusumilli, and he provided us with the following summary of the recently published review article:
Immunotherapy is a promising field that harnesses the power of the immune system as a therapeutic agent for cancer treatment. Dr. Adusumilli’s laboratory efforts previously and currently being supported by the Mesothelioma Applied Research Foundation (Meso Foundation) has shown the survival benefit in patients with malignant pleural mesothelioma with relatively higher tumor-infiltrating T cells (immune cells). This lays a strong foundation to promote immune responses in mesothelioma patients. One such approach being investigated is administration of cancer cell-surface antigen-targeted T cells by using a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR). CARs are genetically-engineered synthetic receptors that when introduced into T cells can enhance T-cell antitumor function and have gained momentum to investigate in solid tumors based on recent successes of clinical trials treating patients with leukemia and lymphoma. This review article summarizes target antigens for CAR T-cell therapy that are being investigated in preclinical studies and clinical trials for mesothelioma patients. One such CAR T-cell clinical trial is being conducted by Dr. Adusumilli at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York. Additionally, the article highlighted the challenges and strategies for overcoming the obstacles facing translation of CAR T-cell therapy to mesothelioma and the utility of another checkpoint blockade immunotherapy, another immunotherapy approach that is currently approved for other solid tumors such as lung cancer.
The full article, authored by Masha Zeltsman, Jordan Dozier, Erin McGee, Daniel Ngai, and Prasad S. Adusumilli can be found online at Translational Resarch.