Dr. Bruce Levine Appointed as Deputy Director of Technology Innovation at CCI

September 21, 2017

The Penn Medicine Center for Cellular Immunotherapies (CCI) today announced the appointment of Bruce Levine, PhD, the Barbara and Edward Netter Professor in Cancer Gene Therapy in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, as the CCI Deputy Director of Technology Innovation and Assessment. In this role, Dr. Levine will coordinate the assessment and integration of new technologies into the continuum of new cellular therapies.  These technologies include cell manipulation, gene delivery, analytics, and integrated platforms including process automation and conversion to electronic systems. As Founding Director of the Clinical Cell and Vaccine Production Facility (CVPF), he will provide strategic guidance and oversight in preclinical process development and validations, and advice on technology improvements in manufacturing and analytics, including the regulatory implications, provided to CVPF leadership and operations teams.

Don Siegel, PhD, MD, Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Director of the Division of Transfusion Medicine and Therapeutic Pathology, and Director of the Fellowship Program in Transfusion Medicine, has taken on the additional role of CVPF Director. Dr. Siegel will be integrating the CVPF with the conventional centers of cellular therapy that include the blood bank, apheresis/infusion unit, and hematopoietic stem cell laboratory. He is supported by an outstanding CVPF leadership team recruited and mentored by Drs. Levine and Siegel that includes Theresa Colligon (Director of Operations), Suzette Arostegui, (Director of Quality), Kurt Buchholz (Director of Facilities), Megan Davis (Director of Scientific Affairs), and Dr. Andrew Fesnak (Director of Cell Manufacturing and Development).  Drs. Levine and Siegel and the CVPF leadership team will be working closely together to ensure smooth translation of new technologies into manufacturing.  Dr. Levine will continue to contribute his unparalleled expertise in cell therapy development and manufacturing to the CVPF and CCI as a whole.  He will be working closely with the Director of the CCI, Dr. Carl June, and Anne Chew, CCI Executive Director, to progress and execute the CCI vision, mission, and objectives.

In the 25 years since joining the June laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow, Dr. Levine has overseen the production of nearly 3,000 cellular products administered to over 1,000 patients in dozens of clinical trials. A number of these clinical trials have been first in human trials, including the first use of a lentiviral vector in humans, and the first gene editing in humans. He has overseen tremendous growth in the CVPF, starting in a small room in the Bethesda Naval Hospital, then in two rooms in BRB2/3, the Maloney building in HUP, the Ravdin building HUP, and now the Center for Advanced Cellular Therapies in South Tower. Recognizing that the approval of tisagenlecleucel (Kymriah™) by the FDA marks a huge milestone, the focus of the CCI now is to continue to look forward and Dr. Levine's role will be critically important for the ongoing development of the next generation of cellular therapies.