Future Treatments (Research)

Roswell Park was founded in 1898 as the first research center in the world to focus exclusively on cancer. Through research we transform the future of cancer care and the lives of our patients.

Here are just a few of our projects aimed at helping our patients live longer, healthier lives.

Cellular therapies

T lymphocytes, or T cells, can be highly effective in stimulating the immune system to destroy cancer cells. But T cells have a limited lifespan. Some of our research focuses on ways to keep the body’s supply of T cells alive and thriving to prevent cancer from recurring.

With a $12 million grant from the New York State Stem Cell Science Program (NYSTEM), we are investigating ways of using stem cells to eliminate ovarian cancer that has recurred (returned after treatment) and is resistant to chemotherapy.

In August 2017 we launched the world’s first clinical trial of an adoptive T-cell therapy that used a two-gene combination. In this clinical trial, which is still active, the patients’ T cells are armed with: 1) T-cell receptors (TCRs) that enable the T cells to hunt down and destroy tumor cells that produce the antigen NY-ESO-1; and 2) a second gene to block a protein called transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-beta), which the tumor produces to attack the T cells. We hope this “double whammy” will enable the T cells to kill the tumor cells without being harmed by TGF-beta.

Blood and marrow (hematopoietic stem cell) transplant

In the first study of its kind, Roswell Park researchers have identified rare genetic differences in patients and their unrelated donors that are linked to poorer survival rates. It’s hoped that this information will make allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant an option for more patients who have unrelated donors, and lead to even better patient/donor matches and higher survival rates.

Research led by Philip McCarthy, MD demonstrated that multiple myeloma patients who received lenalidomide for maintenance therapy after autologous stem cell transplant survived significantly longer than those who did not receive lenalidomide. As a result of this meta-analysis, the use of lenalidomide for post-transplant maintenance therapy is now the standard of care.