DOCTOR RENIER BRENTJENS

With a PhD in microbiology from SUNY Buffalo, Dr. Renier Brentjens is an associate member of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC) and an assistant physician for their leukemia services. He initiated preclinical studies demonstrating the potential clinical application of genetically modified T cells to target the CD19 antigen by retroviral transfer of genes from artificial T cell receptors, the famous chimeric antigen (CAR) receptors. Dr. Brentjens has successfully applied these studies into the clinical setting by treating patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and acute B-cell lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL). His current pre- clinical research in progress is focused on the development of CAR-modified T cells designed to overcome the hostile immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment through the generation of “CAR armored T cells.” The work at Dr. Brentjens’ laboratory expanded this CAR technology to target additional tumor antigens expressed in other tumors, including the MUC-16 antigen target expressed in ovarian carcinomas, as well as the more ubiquitous WT-1 tumor associated antigen. These latter projects are also in the process of being transitioned into the clinical environment.