Three professors at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis – Todd A. Fehniger, MD, PhD, Jeffrey J. Bednarski, MD, PhD, and Thomas Pfeiffer, MD – have secured $1.4 million in funding from the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, the Rising Tide Foundation for Clinical Cancer Research, and Siteman Kids. This funding will aid in conducting a phase 2 clinical trial for a novel cell-based immunotherapy combined with a stem cell transplant for children with acute myeloid leukemia (AML), a form of blood cancer.
The trial aims to reduce relapse rates following stem cell transplantation by treating patients with memory-like natural killer (NK) cells that have been reprogrammed through exposure to a protein cocktail, enabling them to more effectively identify and eliminate cancer cells. These memory-like NK cells will be sourced from the same donor who provided the patient’s stem cells and administered approximately one week after the stem cell transplant.
This innovative research holds significant potential for improving outcomes for pediatric AML patients by enhancing the body’s immune response against cancer cells. The funding received will be crucial in advancing the development of this promising cell-based therapy.