The National Cancer Institute has awarded City of Hope Cancer Center a five-year, $15.2 million grant to develop innovative therapies for people battling leukemia, lymphoma and other cancers. This is the 24th consecutive year that City of Hope has received funding for the program.
“This grant will allow City of Hope to continue to expand the use of radioimmunotherapy and T-cell therapy to bring less invasive, more effective treatments to many forms of cancer,” said Stephen J. Forman, M.D., chair of the Division of Hematology and Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation (HCT). City of Hope is a pioneer in the field of HCT and maintains one of the largest and most successful programs in the world.
The grant will support three projects within the program. The first will explore the potential of radioimmunotherapy in treating leukemia in older patients. Radioimmunotherapy enables antibodies to deliver therapeutic radiation directly to tumor cells, minimizing exposure of healthy tissue while maximizing the beneficial impact.
The second project will focus on the effects of using a donor’s genetically modified T-cells to treat acute lymphoblastic leukemia that can linger in the patient after HCT.
The third project will test the efficacy of a cytomegalovirus (CMV) vaccine. CMV is a herpes-family virus that nearly everyone has, but that can be threatening to a patient with a weakened immune system, as in HCT and other organ transplants. Physicians will give the vaccine to stem cell donors so that when their marrow is transplanted into the recipient, it is already boosted to fight CMV. This therapy is designed to minimize side effects of transplantation.
An estimated 101,640 new cases of leukemia and lymphoma will be diagnosed this year. City of Hope, which celebrates the 30th anniversary of its HCT Program this year, performs about 500 transplant procedures annually. The program has performed more than 7,200 transplants since its inception in 1976.