Laurence J. N. Cooper, MD, PhD
Year elected: 2007
Current membership category: Senior
Ziopharm Oncology
One First Avenue; Parris Building 34
Navy Yard Plaza
Boston, MA 02129
United States of America
Phone: 6172591987

Biographical statement

As a pediatric oncologist trained in hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT), I develop and apply investigator-initiated therapies using genetically modified clinical-grade T cells. To augment anti-tumor immunity I have fashioned chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) to redirect the specificity of T cells for desired targets, such as CD19 on malignant B cells, and combined adoptive immunotherapy with immunocytokines to deliver CAR- T cells and cytokine to tumor microenvironments. I have improved the therapeutic potential of genetically modified T cells by engineering CARs to provide a fully-competent activation signal resulting in antigen-dependent cytolysis, cytokine production, and sustained proliferation. To stimulate the recipient’s endogenous immune response, I have introduced desired recombinant antigen into T cells which then function as antigen presenting cells. Platform technologies for ex vivo manufacture and certification of genetically modified clinical-grade T cells have been developed using (i) non-viral gene transfer of DNA plasmids co-expressing CAR, conditional suicide genes for in vivo ablation, and transgenes for non-invasive imaging by positron emission tomography (PET), and (ii) artificial antigen presenting cells prepared from cell banks to numerically expand CAR+ T cells. These technologies are being translated into a series of gene therapy trials supported by PET to assess infused T-cell biodistribution and activation. It is expected that by combining immune-based therapies with gene engineering approaches, we will develop adjuvant technologies for effective and safe treatment of malignancies in conjunction with HSCT in children and adults alike.

Institutional affiliations

Ziopharm Oncology (Primary)