Dr. Robert Seeger
Robert Seeger, M.D., Ph.D., is Professor of Pediatrics at the Keck School of Medicine, Director of Cancer Research Program of the Saban Research Institute, and Division Head for Basic and Translational Research of the Center for Cancer and Blood Diseases at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. Dr. Seeger is considered one of the leaders in the fight against neuroblastoma. He has been involved in every major advancement in treating neuroblastoma. Dr. Seeger’s current therapeutic research deals with immunotherapy strategies that seek to maximize natural killer (NK) cell activity with tumor cell targeting antibodies and with agents that modify the tumor microenvironment milieu to minimize NK suppressive effects of monocytes/macrophages producing IL-6 and TGFβ1.
Dr. Malcolm K. Brenner
Malcolm K. Brenner, M.D., Ph.D., is the director of the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital and The Methodist Hospital. He is also director of the Shell Center for Gene Therapy at BCM and a professor in the Departments of Pediatrics and Medicine, Section of Hematology-Oncology. Before coming to Baylor, he was one of the pioneers in the field of gene therapy at St. Jude Children’s Cancer Research Center in Memphis. Dr. Brenner is a co-editor of the journal Molecular Therapy, a member of the American Society of Gene Therapy and a principal investigator or co-investigator on five NIH grants. He is the author or co-author of more than 200 professional articles in his field. He was the first to cure a child with
neuroblastoma using T cells.
Dr. Paul Sondel
Paul Sondel, M.D., Ph.D., is the Reed and Carolee Walker Professor in Pediatric Oncology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Dr. Sondel has been a leader in scientific policy through multiple national committee roles, including the National Institutes of Health, the American Cancer Society, the Children’s Oncology Group (COG), and the National Cancer Institute, where he was a member of the Board of Scientific Counselors, and St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital, where he was the Chair of their Scientific Advisory Committee and is now chair of their cancer center’s external advisory board. Due to his extensive background in genetics and tumor immunology, Dr. Sondel led his team to dramatically change the treatment for neuroblastoma, and, in turn, the survival rate for children with this high-risk disease.
Dr. Andras Heczey
Andras Heczey, M.D., is a physician-scientist and full-time faculty member in the Department of Pediatrics of Baylor College of Medicine, Section of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology. He is a member of the multidisciplinary solid tumor team and the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy (CAGT). His research focuses on developing novel treatments for children with solid tumors by redirecting the immune system to attack cancer cells. Dr. Heczey has studied and published the first adoptive immunotherapy approach utilizing Natural Killer T cells genetically modified to attack neuroblastoma. He is working on moving this approach from bench to bedside in the form of a Phase 1/2a clinical trial.
Dr. Shakeel Modak
Shakeel Modak, M.D., Ph.D., joins us from the Department of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, Immunotherapy, Neuroblastoma at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York. Dr. Modak is a pediatric oncologist who specializes in the treatment of children and young adults with neuroblastoma and other solid tumors, such as desmoplastic small round cell tumors. With his colleagues, he translates laboratory research into new immunologic therapies that can target these tumors.
He and his team are evaluating radiolabeled monoclonal antibody treatments in combination with cell-based therapies that may enhance their effectiveness. His team’s research has defined the standard of care
used to treat neuroblastoma today.