Don J. Diamond, Ph.D., chairs the Department of Experimental Therapeutics, which develops vaccines to combat hematologic malignancies, solid tumors, and infectious pathogens such as the herpesvirus, cytomegalovirus (CMV) HIV.
The prospect of an effective CMV vaccine means significant benefits for immunocompromised patients such as those with AIDS, or stem cell and solid organ transplant recipients. A therapeutic CMV peptide vaccine developed in the department is undergoing phase II human efficacy testing in City of Hope stem cell transplant recipients, while a second generation CMV vaccine based on the attenuated poxvirus MVA, or modified vaccinia Ankara, is currently undergoing phase I human safety testing.
A vaccine developed in the department also based on the MVA platform expressing unmutated p53 has completed phase I human testing in City of Hope gastrointestinal cancer patients. In the laboratory, we are refining a therapeutic platform based on attenuated Salmonella bacterium to treat a range of malignancies including pancreatic, skin and brain cancers. In collaboration with Peter Barry, Ph.D., of University of California at Davis and the National Primate Research Center, we are developing a prophylactic CMV vaccine that promises to control gestational infection that causes a wide range of birth defects that annually afflict close to 4,000 American children.
Project 1: Phase 1b And Phase 2 Evaluation Of Protective Efficacy, Safety And Correlative Immunogenicity Studies Of Cmvpepvax Co-Injected With Pf03512676 Adjuvant In Recipients Of Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant
Project 2: Control Of Cmv Infection In Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant Recipients Using Attenuated Mva-Based Cmv Subunit Vaccine
Project 3: Phase I Study Of A P53-Mva Vaccine For Advanced Colon, Gastric And Pancreatic Cancer
Project 4: Development Of Vaccine Strategies To Prevent Congenital Cytomegalovirus Infection
Project 5: Ido-Silencing Salmonella Therapy For The Treatment Of Primary And Metastatic Pdac
Project 6: Pilot Project - Blockade Of Immune Checkpoint Receptors For The Treatment Of Pancreatic Cancer
The Laboratory of Vaccine Research (LVR) was originally formed by Don J. Diamond, Ph.D. in 2000 to address priorities in vaccine research that would potentially impact patient outcomes at the City of Hope (COH) and other cancer centers worldwide. The LVR later evolved into the Division of Translational Vaccine Research (TVR) in 2008, which has, since then, focused on the clinical translation of vaccine and therapeutic strategies to combat herpes viral infections, hematologic malignancies, and solid tumors. Our comprehensive program has now developed molecular vaccines and therapies that incorporate various technologies such as peptides and viral or bacterial vectors to directly elicit, or encode antigens that elicit, viral- or cancer-specific immune responses. Currently, the TVR has produced several agents that have advanced beyond pre-clinical testing into Phase I and II trials. The mission of the TVR is to continue progress in the development and testing of treatments with clinical benefit for cancer patients. In 2014, the TVR was transformed into the Department of Experimental Therapeutics (ET). The mission of the ET department will encompass the work of the TVR and broaden its scope to include more basic studies in basic and tumor immunology.
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