Immune therapies that engage T cells have the potential to induce long-term durable remissions of cancer. In hematologic malignancies, allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant can be curative in part due to T-cell mediated anti-tumor immunity; in solid tumors, checkpoint blockade with anti-CTLA-4 or anti-PD-1monoclonal antibodies can mediate long-term responses by releasing T cells from tightly controlled peripheral tolerance. Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) are synthetic molecules designed to re-direct T cells to specific antigens. Re-directing T cells with CARs is an alternative method of overcoming tolerance and has shown great promise in patients with blood cancers, and CAR T cells directed to CD19 have now been FDA-approved in certain patient populations. However, successful application of this form of therapy to other cancers is likely to require refinements in the molecular designs of CARs, modifications of the immune cells and tumor microenvironment, and potentially combinations with other therapeutics.
The goal of the Maus lab is to design and evaluate next generation genetically-modified (CAR) T cells as immunotherapy in patients with cancer or who need tolerance induced due to disease or transplantation.
The Maus lab focuses on understanding and engineering immune cells for potential use as therapeutics. We span from basic mechanistic questions, such as genetic screens to guide us in engineering the most potent T cells, to syngeneic models to understand how CAR T cells work in the presence of a tumor microenvironment or organ transplant, to methods and technologies to overcome challenges in large-scale manufacturing, to clinical trials of CAR T cells designed and tested by our laboratory, to correlative studies to identify the mechanisms of efficacy, toxicity, and resistance in patients who have received novel CAR T cells or established CAR T cells in novel combinations with other drugs. In short, research projects span from basic discovery to clinical trial samples. The Maus laboratory is comprised of a mixture of PhD graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and clinical fellows and visiting scientists, along with a dedicated support staff.
Building 149, Room 3.216
149 13th Street
Charlestown, MA 02129