The Catholic University of America, Washington, DC; BS, Biology; 1998
University of Chicago, Chicago, Ill; MD; 2002
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA; Resident, Internal Medicine; 2002-2005
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and UW, Seattle, WA; Senior Fellow, Medical Oncology; 2005-2008
Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, WA; Research Associate; 2008-2011
Dr. Till’s clinical expertise is in lymphoma, including autologous stem cell transplantation and cellular immunotherapies. He sees lymphoma patients on the Stem Cell Transplant Service at the SCCA. He has served as Southwest Oncology Group (SWOG) study coordinator of an intergroup clinical trial for mantle cell lymphoma patients and is a member of the National Cancer Institute National Clinical Trials Network, Mantle Cell Lymphoma subcommittee of the Lymphoma Steering Committee.
Immune T cells can specifically target and kill cancer cells, by binding specific proteins (antigens) on the malignant cells with molecules called T cell receptors. Researchers have learned how to make synthetic TCRs, known as chimeric antigen receptors (CARs). Since 2006, Dr. Till has been developing new immunotherapies that use a lymphoma patient’s own (autologous) immune T cells genetically engineered to carry a lymphoma-seeking CAR. He and his translational research lab have extensive experience assessing the function of CAR T cells targeting CD20 and CD19 antigens in cells and mouse models of human tumors.
Dr. Till has led two important clinical trials, including the first published trial testing CAR T cells as a treatment for lymphoma patients, as well as the first-in-human trial that used “3rd-generation” CARs. These improved CARs contain “costimulatory” molecular elements that help optimally activate the engineered T cells once they encounter their tumor targets.
In the laboratory, Dr. Till is investigating one means by which adoptive immunotherapy with autologous CD20-specific T cells might be optimized; i.e. by inactivating “checkpoint” molecules such as CTLA-4 that can otherwise incapacitate T cell responses. Another project is investigating the potential effects of residual rituximab (Rituxan®) on the function of 3rd generation CD20-specific CAR T cells. Rituxan is a monoclonal antibody drug that binds CD20 and is commonly used to treat lymphoma patients.
Dr. Till is a clinical investigator on the Phase I/II Study of Immunotherapy for Advanced CD19+ Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia and Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma with Defined Subsets of Autologous T Cells Engineered to Express a CD19-Specific Chimeric Antigen Receptor.
In collaboration with the Fred Hutch’s Dr. Oliver Press, he is planning a clinical trial of 3rd generation CD20-targeting CAR-T cells to treat patients with lymphoma.
Dr. Till is currently the SCCA Principal Investigator on a Phase Ib clinical trial of MPDL3280A (a PDL1 inhibiting antibody drug) administered with the anti-CD20 antibody drug, obinutuzumab GAZYVA®) in patients with relapsed/refractory Follicular Lymphoma or Diffuse Large B-cell Lymphoma, sponsored by F. Hoffman-La Roche, Ltd.
He is also the local lead on an Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group- sponsored, randomized phase II trial that is studying various combinations of rituximab, bortezomib, bendamustine and lenalidomide in treating previously untreated older patients with mantle cell lymphoma.