Areas of Interest
Leukemia, Lymphoma, Myeloma
My laboratory research focuses on understanding the immune mechanisms which drive graft-versus-host disease (GVHD), a critical auto-immune like complication limiting the success of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. I am particularly interested in understanding how conventional and regulatory donor T cells traffic to their appropriate sites of action within recipients following bone marrow transplantation, and how their in-vivo homing might be manipulated in order to lessen GVHD severity without compromising beneficial anti-tumor immunity. Using murine transplantation model systems, I have previously shown that in the absence of CC-Chemokine receptor 7 (CCR7), donor T cells induce greatly attenuated GVHD responses while retaining an ability to mount potent graft-versus-leukemia (GVL) effects. These promising preclinical results have resulted in a collaborative effort with the UNC center for Integrative Chemical Biology and Drug Discovery to develop a CCR7 antagonist for eventual use in an early phase human clinical trial. In addition, I am interested in initiating GVHD prevention and or therapy trials using novel anti-inflammatory agents developed for other inflammatory disorders. My prior small exploratory study examining the role of LFA-1 blockade for the management of cutaneous GVHD was to my knowledge the first human trial that focused on an adhesion molecule blockade approach for the management of this often refractory transplant complication.