Robert H. Vonderheide, MD, D.Phil
Associate Director for Translational Research
2012-2013 BCRF Project:
(made possible by generous support from Hard Rock Café International, Inc.)
Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute
University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine
Co-Investigator: Susan M. Domchek, MD
, Abramson Cancer Center, University of Pennsylvania
The overall purpose of the project led by Drs. Domchek and Vonderheide is to develop new immune therapies for breast cancer that can lower the risk of cancer recurrence when given to patients after their initial diagnosis and treatment. A novel vaccine that targets telomerase and a new approach based on the transfusion of engineered T-cells, a form of white blood cells, that bind to the c-met target, are being tested in phase I clinical trials, with state-of-the-art immune assessment assays.
Mid-year Progress: The overall purpose of this project is to harness the power of the immune system against breast cancer by designing and testing novel therapies that can ultimately lower the risk of cancer recurrence. Drs. Domchek and Vonderheide have opened to two clinical trials this year. In one trial, patients with metastatic breast cancer are being vaccinated against the target proteins telomerase and survivin. In a second study, a new approach based on the transfusion of engineered white blood cells called T-cells that bind to the c-met target is being investigated.
Dr. Robert Vonderheide is Associate Professor of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and an investigator of the Abramson Family Cancer Research Institute. He graduated from the University of Notre Dame with a B.Sc. in Chemical Engineering and from Oxford University, England, as a Rhodes Scholar with a D.Phil. in immunology. After graduating from Harvard Medical School, he completed a residency in Internal Medicine at the Massachusetts General Hospital and subsequently a clinical fellowship in hematology-oncology at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. He joined the University of Pennsylvania faculty in 2001, and his laboratory is interested in combining efforts in both basic research and clinical investigation to advance the understanding of tumor immunology and to develop novel immunotherapies for cancer.