In order to take advantage of the important strides made in the genetic engineering of human cells over the past several years, including the development of novel approaches to cancer therapeutics, Memorial Sloan Kettering has announced the establishment of the Memorial Sloan Kettering Center for Cell Engineering. The focus of the program will be to bring together researchers who are investigating areas that encompass stem cell biology, stem cell and immune cell engineering, autologous cell delivery (to ensure the efficacy and persistence of the patient’s own engineered cells in transplants), the regulation of genes engineered into cells, and the best methods for inserting those genes.
“Human cells are increasingly being used as therapeutic agents,” said Michel Sadelain, a Member of the Sloan Kettering Institute’s Molecular Pharmacology and Chemistry Program, who will lead the new center. “An expanding array of cell types is now under investigation for the treatment of cancer, genetic disorders, infectious diseases, and degenerative disorders.”
The center will draw from members of both Memorial Hospital and Sloan Kettering Institute, and also will recruit new faculty. According to Dr. Sadelain, an important role of the center and its facilities will be strengthening the continuum between biological, translational, and clinical aspects of cell engineering research and cell therapies. “We are still at the pioneering stage of this work,” he added. “To move forward, clinical investigators need the support of top-notch facilities.”