New Adoptive Cell Therapy Immunotherapy Approach Ready for Clinical Trials

Late-breaking Roswell Park research presented at AACR annual meeting in Washington, D.C.

  • Adoptive stem cell/T cell platform confirmed in laboratory, ready for clinical
  • Novel approach targets NY-ESO-1, a known tumor biomarker
  • Late-breaking research from Center for Immunotherapy presented at AACR 2017

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center researchers plan to test a novel adoptive cell immunotherapy platform in phase I/II clinical trials after seeing promising results in preclinical studies. They are presenting the findings of that preliminary research today at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) Annual Meeting 2017, which continues through April 5 in Washington, D.C.

Richard Koya, MD, PhD, Associate Director of the Center for Immunotherapy (CFI) at Roswell Park, is the first author on this new work, and the Deputy Director of the Institute and Executive Director of the CFI, Kunle Odunsi, MD, PhD, is the senior author of “Sustained efficacy of immunotherapy for solid tumors with novel dual CD4/CD8 T cell receptor engineered synergistic combination of hematopoietic stem cells and T cells” (late-breaking poster LB-186), to be presented on Tuesday, April 4 at 8 a.m. EDT.

The study demonstrated a unique approach to adoptive cell transfer, a form of immunotherapy in which a patient’s own immune cells are drawn from blood, genetically engineered, multiplied and injected back into the patient in order to stimulate a sustained attack against cancer.

“This research demonstrates for the first time that a combined cell immunotherapy approach produces robust, efficient and unprecedented control of tumors. We are combining two different types of cells, adult stem cells from blood and T lymphocytes, in a unique way and through a platform targeting NY-ESO-1, a known tumor biomarker,” says Dr. Koya.

The approach is based on technology developed in Roswell Park labs that renders immune cells highly active and specific against various types of cancer. This novel approach showed efficacy in the laboratory against a very aggressive type of human ovarian cancer, providing the rationale for a prospective clinical trial in collaboration with a Roswell Park spin-off company, Tactiva Therapeutics, which will provide the reagents and vectors for genetic engineering of cells.

Dr. Odunsi adds, “This distinctive therapeutic approach has the potential to provide patients with an ongoing source of cancer-fighting cells to battle difficult-to-treat solid tumors and prevent disease relapse. The next steps are to investigate this approach in early-stage clinical trials.”

More than 25 teams from Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center have been invited to present their research at the 2017 AACR annual meeting. Projects to be presented include research that provided insights on a potential biomarker for glioma, an epigenetic approach to understanding androgen deprivation therapy, and a microRNA signature scoring system that may predict bone metastasis in breast cancer.


The mission of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center is to understand, prevent and cure cancer. Founded in 1898, Roswell Park is one of the first cancer centers in the country to be named a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center and remains the only facility with this designation in Upstate New York. The Institute is a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network, an alliance of the nation’s leading cancer centers; maintains affiliate sites; and is a partner in national and international collaborative programs. For more information, visit, call 1-877-ASK-Roswell Park (1-866-559-4838) or email Follow Roswell Park on Facebook and Twitter.

Media Contact

Deborah Pettibone, Public Information Specialist