Profile of the Development of the CART19 Gene Therapy in Philadelphia Magazine
July 31, 2013
An elaborate and detailed article in the August edition of Philadelphia Magazine offers a dramatic narrative for the development of the CART19 gene therapy, the breakthrough Penn Medicine treatment that uses engineered versions of patients' own immune cells to fight their cancers. The article describes the stories of several patients who are in remission following years of failed conventional therapies and profiles the groundbreaking work of Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine faculty members Carl June, MD, and Bruce Levine, PhD. It also mentions the work of Assistant Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine Michael Milone, MD, PhD, who developed the custom HIV vector that genetically modifies T cells for the immunotherapy of cancer. The article describes the contributions of the Clinical Cell and Vaccine Production Facility (CVPF) and the Apheresis/Infusion Unit to the gene therapy process and notes, "science is incremental. It's a slow and global grind, a steady accumulation of facts wrested from failure. But every once in a while, there really is a leap, and a small group of people can change how thousands think about the possibilities."