Memorial Sloan Kettering: Renier Brentjens Lab. The Renier Brentjens Lab at MSK is focused on developing novel treatment approaches for certain leukemias and lymphomas utilizing the patient’s own immune system. Specifically this work involves the genetic manipulation of patients’ immune cells to recognize and kill their own cancer cells. This is a promising form of gene therapy. Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), consistently ranked as a top hospital for cancer care by US News & World Report, is the world’s oldest and largest private cancer center, home to more than 13,000 physicians, scientists, nurses, and staff united by a relentless dedication to conquering cancer. As an independent institution, we combine 130 years of research and clinical leadership with the freedom to provide highly individualized, exceptional care to each patient. And our always-evolving educational programs continue to train new leaders in the field, here and around the world. MSK is defined by more than just exceptional clinicians, investigators, and employees. Every patient who seeks our help, every family member who needs our support, every committed donor who advances our mission – are all an integral part of our community.
Renier Brentjens, MD, PhD, a medical oncologist and Director of Cellular Therapeutics at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, is focused on developing novel treatment approaches for certain leukemias and lymphomas by genetically re-engineering patients’ immune cells to recognize and destroy his or her own cancer cells. This is a promising form of gene therapy. In light of encouraging results in mouse studies, Dr. Brentjens and his colleagues have tested this approach in adult patients with relapsed and refractory acute lymphoblastic leukemia who are no longer responsive to chemotherapy. Significantly, Dr Brentjens and his colleagues at MSKCC were the first to report that this novel chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) modified T cell approach resulted in remarkable percentages of remissions in this highly poor prognosis patient population. In other words, this approach has led to very significantly improved outcomes in these patients. These results have led to the journal Science to declare this approach specifically, and cancer immunotherapy in general, to be the breakthrough scientific achievement of the year (2013). Given the already promising outcomes in patients with hematological malignancies, current goals are focused on applying this novel CAR T cell approach to other hematological cancers and more significantly to more common solid tumor cancers which will require further study, modification, and understanding of these malignancies to achieve similar striking outcomes. These innovative studies are laying the groundwork for a real sea of change in the treatment of cancer. Current ongoing clinical; trials as well as very promising pre-clinical studies conducted in the Brentjens’ lab, utilizing “armored CAR” T cells, hold significant promise for the application of CAR T cell therapy to a broader and more prevalent range of cancers including solid tumor cancers.