Dr. Antoni Ribas
University of California Los Angeles
Grant Amount: $294,400
With the support of the PHASE ONE Foundation Dr. Antoni Ribas and his team will conduct a phase 1 clinical trial (MART-1 F5 TCR Engineered Adoptive Cell Transfer Therapy with CTLA4 Blockade) with the goal of genetically programming the human immune system to efficiently target cancer cells in patients with advanced stage melanoma, the deadliest of skin cancers. This clinical trial builds upon the experience at UCLA over the past 3 years in the use of T cell receptor (TCR) engineered adoptive cell transfer therapy. This therapy is manufactured in-house and results in the generation of a large army of immune system cells that are genetically redirected to recognize and kill melanoma. With this therapy we have noted high initial response rates, but tumors come back. A major limitation has been a progressive decrease in the antitumor functionality of the TCR engineered immune cells. The antibody tremelimumab blocks a major negative regulator in immune cells and will be tested with the goal of maintaining the cancer killing functionality of the TCR engineered lymphocytes given to patients. This protocol has administrative approval by the UCLA regulatory committees and it has already been filed and approved by the Food and Drug Administration.