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Dr David Bishop

PhD Scholarship (Clinical)


Supported by the NSW Community Foundation, N&P Pinter Trust

Researcher: Dr David Bishop
Institute:         University of Sydney Westmead Millennium Institute
Project title:         Immune cell therapies for lymphoma,leukaemia
                                and post-transplant viralinfections
Disease focus:      Stem cell transplants
Annual Funding:    $60,000
Funding period:    2014-2017

Dr David Bishop is running a Phase I clinical trial to evaluate the safety of a new immune cell-based treatment for blood cancer patients not cured by standard treatments.

Developed by researchers from the Westmead Hospital Sydney Cellular Therapies Laboratory, the therapy consists of T-cells genetically engineered to have specific leukaemia and lymphoma activity.

In theory, these T-cells should activate patients’ immune systems to recognise and destroy any rogue cancer cells.

According to Dr Bishop, the new focus on anti-cancer therapy is a natural progression following the research group’s success with cell-based treatment against single viruses to prevent life-threatening infections following a stem cell transplant (SCT).

“We’re also hoping to develop a universal immune cell against leukaemia and lymphoma that doesn’t require patient-donor tissue matching.”

Through its clinical program, the Sydney Cellular Therapies Laboratory has developed immunotherapy treatments for a range of viruses including cytomegalovirus (CMV), adenovirus (AdV) and Epstein Barr virus (EBV). As part of a multicentre clinical trial, they are developing an ‘off the shelf’ product that incorporates these treatments for use by SCT centres in Australia and New Zealand.

Dr Bishop is furthering this research in a separate Phase I clinical trial. In this trial, SCT recipients will receive a single cellular therapy product—providing immunity against CMV, AdV, EBV, Varicella zoster virus (VZV), influenza virus, BK virus and Aspergillus. Dr Bishop will determine whether giving additional vaccination against influenza and VZV enhances the protection offered by this cellular therapy.

Since 2005, the Leukaemia Foundation has awarded more than $700,000 to progress the development of immune therapies by the Sydney Cellular Therapies Laboratory. For more information, see the fact sheets for Dr Barbara Withers (2013), Professor David Gottlieb (2011), Dr Emily Blyth (2008) and Dr Kenneth Micklethwaite (2005).