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2012 Featured Talks » The Mouse that ROR'ed - Targeting Onco-Embryonic Antigens



The Mouse that ROR'ed – Targeting Onco-Embryonic Antigens


Thomas Kipps, MD, PhD, Moores Cancer Center

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Thomas Kipps, MD, PhD, is Professor of Medicine, Evelyn and Edwin Tasch Chair in Cancer Research, and Interim Director of the Moores Cancer Center. A major focus of his laboratory group is the immunobiology and genetics of human B-cell malignancies, with emphasis on chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Study on CLL cells serially collected from patients at time points before therapy, during therapy, or after relapse from therapy allows for investigation of the genetic and biologic features associated with tumor progression, therapeutic response, or resistance to therapy. Discovery of features that distinguish CLL from their normal cell counterparts has helped identify new targets for therapy and/or define surrogate markers associated with more rapid rates of cancer progression or resistance to standard therapy. These studies are integrated with a clinical investigative program that attracts patients seeking improved modalities of treatment for CLL. From this, we have identified molecular markers that can segregate patients into subgroups that have different risks for disease-progression or different probabilities of response to conventional treatment. This also has allowed for testing the safety and relative efficacy of novel agents developed for treatment of all patients with CLL or subgroups of patients hypothesized to have the best potential response to novel forms of therapy. Because CLL cells can be harvested from the blood, it is possible to study primary tumor cells obtained from patients during the course of therapy. This is allowing us to test whether novel targeted therapies are hitting their intended target and whether this is associated with a clinical response to therapy. To further these efforts on a national scale, Dr. Kipps has organized and leads the CLL Research Consortium that is comprised of leading CLL investigators at the major cancer centers across the country and abroad.


As interim director, Dr. Kipps is working to further integrate basic and translational research investigators at the Moores Cancer Center with clinical Investigators, epidemiologists, and physicians offering state-of-the art therapies for patients with other types of cancer. A major goal of this effort is to develop Centers of Excellence (CoE) in various cancer types. It is projected that each CoE will attract patients and researchers from across the country who are seeking out the best program in cancer prevention, detection, and treatment.