I received my M.D. from the University of Aarhus, Denmark, in 1984. Following a residency at the Department of Hematology, Aarhus County Hospital, I was lucky enough to get funding to set up a PhD project to study the trafficking of metastasizing tumor cells as well as activated NK cells at the Department of Immunology at the Institute of Medical Microbiology, University of Aarhus, Denmark.
In 1988 I received a fellowship from the Fogarty International Center, NIH, to study in the US for 1-2 years. I also received an invitation from Ronald B. Herberman, M.D., to join the newly established Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, as a visiting fellow. It was during this period my interest in NK cells changed from serious to passionate as I, against my own predictions, showed that under the right conditions, NK cells localize in high numbers and with impressive selectivity at tumor sites.
I returned to Denmark two years later to finish my Ph.D. in Immunology (“Tissue distribution of NK cells and their role in clearance and metastasis of tumor cells”, University of Aarhus, 1992. Mentors: Dr. Marianne Hokland, M.D., Ph.D., and the late Dr. Iver Heron, M.D., Ph.D.), but at the end of my “two year home-rule” in 1992, I was recruited back to the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (UPCI) to study cancer immunotherapy based on NK cells, cytotoxic T cells and dendritic cells.
In the summer of 2017, I accepted an exciting offer from Roswell Park Cancer Institute to join the newly formed Division of Translational Research, DoM, under the leadership of my friend and former colleague from Pittsburgh, Dr. Pawel Kalinski. While I, in this new position, continue to study traffic and anti-tumor function of immune effector cells, a major and very important and very satisfying difference is that I am now given the possibility to apply myself and my insights from years of animal-based studies directly to translational and clinical cancer research.
The overall goal of my research is to develop effective treatments of disseminated cancer based on tumor-seeking lymphocytes. We have shown that some IL-2-activated effector cells such as CD8+ CTLs, but especially natural killer (NK) cells, are impressively capable of localizing into tumors following systemic administration. We believe that we can take advantage of this phenomenon to improve cancer treatment in several ways; (i) By understanding how these lymphocytes succeeded in reaching and infiltrating the tumor areas, we should be able to support other anti-tumor lymphocytes in reaching the tumors sites as well; (ii) By enabling (e.g., via gene-transfer) the tumor homing effector cells to produce various cytokines, they should be able to attract and activate additional host anti-tumor effector cells; (iii) By using the tumor-homing cells as Trojan Horses, we can bring payloads of anti-cancer agents selectively to the tumor tissues.
1. Basse, P., Herberman, R. B., Nannmark, U., Johansson, B. R., Hokland, M., Wasserman, K., & Goldfarb, R. H. (1991). Accumulation of adoptively transferred adherent, lymphokine-activated killer cells in murine metastases. J Exp Med, 174(2), 479-488
2 Yang, Q., Hokland, M. E., Bryant, J. L., Zhang, Y., Nannmark, U., Watkins, S. C., . . . Basse, P. H. (2003). Tumor-localization by adoptively transferred, interleukin-2-activated NK cells leads to destruction of well-established lung metastases. Int J Cancer, 105(4), 512-519. doi:10.1002/ijc.11119
3 Goding, S., Yang, Q., Mi, Z., Robbins, P. D., & Basse, P. H. (2007). Targeting of products of genes to tumor sites using adoptively transferred A-NK and T-LAK cells. Cancer Gene Ther, 14(5), 441-450. doi:10.1038/sj.cgt.7701019
4 Yang, Q., Larsen, S. K., Mi, Z., Robbins, P. D., & Basse, P. H. (2008). PTD-mediated loading of tumor-seeking lymphocytes with prodrug-activating enzymes. AAPS J, 10(4), 614-621. doi:10.1208/s12248-008-9066-z
5 Goding, S. R., Yu, S., Bailey, L. M., Lotze, M. T., & Basse, P. H. (2017). Adoptive transfer of natural killer cells promotes the anti-tumor efficacy of T cells. Clin Immunol, 177, 76-86. doi:10.1016/j.clim.2016.06.013