An NCI-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center
By City of Hope | October 31, 2019
Breast Cancer Cell 500X500
City of Hope is accelerating the development of treatment options for patients with breast cancer who have challenging tumors and poor prognosis. A recent study that highlights this work is being carried out by our dedicated researcher and assistant professor in the Department of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation, Saul Priceman, Ph.D. Receiving a $9.28 million award from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM), this study will implement a HER2-specific CAR T cell therapy for metastatic breast cancer patients. By offering a new avenue for treatment, this grant further supports the development of a promising therapy for these patients that have no alternative options.
This is a phase 1 trial that is enrolling patients with refractory HER2-positive breast cancer with brain metastases to test the safety and effectiveness of CAR T cell therapy. For this trial, patients' re-engineered T cells will be introduced as CAR T cells directly into the brain, a procedure only attempted successfully for the first time at City of Hope.
“Our team’s goal is to develop a novel therapy for breast cancer patients with brain metastases who currently have no other effective treatments,” Priceman said.
Leading the CAR T cell trial is Jana Portnow, M.D., an associate clinical professor in the Department of Medical Oncology & Therapeutics Research and associate director of the Brain Tumor Program, along with Priceman, who conducted the preclinical research that led to the trial’s development.
The trial’s key investigators also include Stephen J. Forman, M.D., director of the T Cell Therapeutics Research Laboratory; Christine Brown, Ph.D., deputy director of the T Cell Therapeutics Research Laboratory and The Heritage Provider Network Professor in Immunotherapy; and Behnam Badie, M.D., chief of City of Hope’s Division of Neurosurgery and The Heritage Provider Network Professor in Gene Therapy.
City of Hope, a recognized leader in CAR T cell therapies, continues to have one of the most comprehensive CAR T cell clinical research programs in the world with over 375 patients treated and 20 ongoing CAR T cell clinical trials — learn more.

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