At the crossroads, translational lab speeds ideas into therapies

March 28, 2013 | by Wayne Lewis

David DiGiusto, Ph.D., works at the intersection of science and medicine.

David DiGiusto at his laboratory, where he aims to rapidly turn novel ideas into viable treatments for serious illnesses. David DiGiusto at his laboratory, where he aims to rapidly turn novel ideas into viable treatments for serious illnesses.

As the director of the Laboratory for Cellular Medicine, he oversees stem cell research, product development and manufacturing. The manufacturing arm of the lab — the Cellular Therapy Production Center — is one of three onsite facilities at City of Hope that make investigational treatments for cancer and other life-threatening diseases. In short, his lab is the bridge between basic research where bold ideas are born and the clinical trials that study promising, new treatments in patients.

Watch the video below to hear DiGiusto explain the how and why of manufacturing — and talk about the ultimate goal of his team’s HIV research.

In collaboration with John Rossi, Ph.D., and John Zaia, M.D., DiGiusto is advancing a new therapy for HIV/AIDS. Their strategy weds gene therapy with the bone marrow transplant in an effort to cure AIDS-related lymphoma while blocking HIV. Their work is made possible by funding from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the National Institutes of Health and private donors.

Other City of Hope projects made at the center include neural stem cells as a therapy for brain cancer and reprogramming immune cells to attack lymphoma and other cancers. And with DiGiusto's lab expediting the process from idea conception to product development to clinical trials, the next breakthrough for these diseases may just be around the corner.

To find out more about DiGiusto's research, check out his profile page on our Faces of Hope site.

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