The Jul. 22 issue of The New Yorker spotlights the pioneering research of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center. Titled “The Promise and Price of Cellular Therapies,” the story, published online today, was written by cancer researcher and oncologist Dr. Siddhartha Mukherjee, author of the bestselling “The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer,” a comprehensive history of cancer.
In The New Yorker piece, Mukherjee traces the evolution of CAR T-cell therapy, a form of immunotherapy that uses engineered immune cells to eliminate cancer, beginning with the development of bone marrow transplantation by Fred Hutch’s Dr. E. Donnall Thomas.
Thomas in 1990 received the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for pioneering the procedure, which provided the first definitive and reproducible demonstration of the power of the immune system to seek and destroy cancer.
In his article, Mukherjee profiles recent T-cell therapy research by Dr. Carl June at the Perelman School of Medicine of the University of Pennsylvania and other leaders in the immunotherapy field including Drs. Steve Rosenberg and Michel Sadelain and the Hutch’s Drs. Stan Riddell and Phil Greenberg. In addition to the promising early successes with this new therapy, Mukherjee explores some of the challenges that remain to making these approaches more accessible and affordable.