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Annual Fall Dinner – featuring guest speaker Penn Professor Bruce L. Levine, PhD
Wednesday, October 30, 2019, 6:30 PM
The Hanover Manor
16 Eagle Rock Avenue
East Hanover, NJ 07936
Dr. Bruce Levine
Barbara and Edward Netter Professor
in Cancer Gene Therapy
Genetically Engineered Immunity to
Treat Untreatable Cancers
Since the 1990’s, we have conducted clinical trials of gene modified T cells. These trials have led to advancements in gene delivery and genetic modification, including gene editing and redirection of immune specificity. Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) may be constructed to recognize targets normally invisible to the immune system, such as cancer antigens. T cells modified with CARs targeting CD19 on B cell leukemias and lymphomas have induced durable complete responses in patients who are relapsed or refractory to all other available treatments. This synthetic biology technology has now undergone global multi-center clinical trials and recently received FDA, EMEA, Canada, Switzerland, Japan, and Australia approvals (KymriahTM, Novartis) in relapsed/refractory acute lymphoid leukemia in children and young adults as well as in diffuse large B cell lymphoma. Translation of these technologies from research bench to clinical application requires integrated scientific, engineering, clinical, and regulatory expertise. New designs for genetically engineered T cells include switches and potency enhancements that will be required for targeting solid tumors. The road forward for wide patient access to these uniquely personal cellular therapies depends not only on scientific progress in targeting, gene modification and cellular manipulation, but also on meeting automation, engineering, clinical site onboarding, and health policy challenges.
About Dr. Bruce Levine
Dr. Bruce Levine is the Founding Director of the Clinical Cell and Vaccine Production Facility (CVPF) in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and the Abramson Cancer Center, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. He received a B.A. (Biology) from Penn and a Ph.D. in Immunology and Infectious Diseases from Johns Hopkins. First-in-human adoptive immunotherapy trials include the first use of a lentiviral vector, the first infusions of gene edited cells, and the first use of lentivirally-modified cells to treat cancer. He is co-inventor of the first FDA approved gene therapy (Kymriah), chimeric antigen receptor T cells for leukemia and lymphoma, licensed to Novartis.