In 12 years ACGT has funded almost $24 million in grants to the some of the nation’s top investigators in the field of cell and gene therapy, conducting research at University of Pennsylvania, Johns Hopkins, Memorial Sloan-Kettering, Duke, Moores UCSD Cancer Center, Harvard, and Mayo Clinic, among other prestigious medical institutions. Breakthroughs in leukemia remission have garnered world-wide attention since the 2012 Swim.
Gene therapy is the process of introducing genetic material, usually DNA, to fight an acquired or inherited disease. Cell therapy treats disease by infusing or transplanting whole cells into the patient for the same purpose. ACGT supports cell and gene therapy research for many forms of cancer, including lymphoma, leukemia, ovarian, breast, prostate, pancreatic, lung, and brain cancers. ACGT is leading the way for innovative research using cells and genes as "medicine." Supporting research projects such as work being done by previous recipients Dr. Khalid Shah at Harvard/Mass General Hospital, and Dr. Thomas J. Kipps, MD, Ph.D. at Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA, will lead to more effective and less debilitating treatments for cancer patients. 100% of the money presented annually to ACGT goes directly to research – research we now anticipate will make cancer a manageable disease.
Swim Across America will support Dr. Thomas J. Kipps, MD, Ph.D. at Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA. Dr. Kipps was awarded a 2010 Investigator Award in Clinical Translation to further test the impact of the treatment on patients before it moves to a Phase II trial. He was awarded a 2005 Investigator grant for a Phase I trial to test the safety and efficacy of immune-mediated gene therapy for intractable B Cell Leukemia.
Message from Dr. Thomas Kipps
I would like to extend my sincere thanks to Swim Across America for this seventh anniversary Greenwich-Stamford Swim. As an ACGT Research Fellow, I appreciate continuing as the recipient of this Swim to further my development of a new treatment for Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL).
It is the generosity of so many people contributing to this Swim which will expand the work of my laboratory at Moores UCSD Cancer Center in San Diego, CA.
Immunotherapy is considered an especially promising form of gene therapy, in which cells from the patient’s tumor are re-engineered and re-inserted, triggering an immune response previously blocked by the cancer. Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), the most common form of the disease in adults in Western societies, has generally been incurable. Having worked in the field for more than twenty years, I am encouraged that a more effective treatment for this disease is within reach.
The field has evolved. There is a tremendous amount of new work that’s going on to find the effective targets for gene therapy, and also the delivery vehicles. We’re seeing some very encouraging results right now that are being translated into clinical trials. Most recently, the combination of gene immunotherapy with chemotherapy is proving to be a safe and more effective treatment for the high-risk CLL patients, with remission rates nine times greater than those in a similar study using chemotherapy alone. ..Such an encouraging result.
Dr. Thomas Kipps Professor of Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology Deputy Director of Research, Moores UCSD Cancer Center, University of California, San Diego, CA