Melody Smith earned her MD with Distinction in Research from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, Texas in 2009 and completed an Internship and Residency in Internal Medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center in 2012. In the fall of 2012, she began her Fellowship in Medical Hematology/ Oncology at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. While at MSK, Melody has received the following grants: the Clinical Scholars Training Program Grant and the Mortimer J. Lacher Grant from the Lymphoma Foundation.
Melody participated in the American Society of Bone Marrow Transplant 2015 Clinical Research Training Course. She was also one of twenty international junior researchers who was selected to participate in the 2015 European Hematology Association (EHA) and the American Society of Hematology (ASH) Translational Training in Hematology (TRTH), which is focused on aiding early-career scientists in building successful careers in hematologic translational research.
The focus of her research is the utilization of CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells in an effort to maintain graft versus tumor activity and attenuate graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) in the treatment of CD19 hematologic malignancies. Melody works with a mouse model to analyze the mechanism whereby CD19 CAR T cells suppress GVHD. She is also investigating approaches to optimize the administration of CD19 CAR T cells. This research has the potential to benefit patients, as it would be a strategy to decrease GVHD in allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients.
Adoptive therapy with CD19 chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells
In collaboration with the Sadelain lab, we are utilizing CD19 CAR constructs that target murine CD19, which are identical the CD19 CAR T cells that are used in our clinical trials to treat CD19 positive hematological malignancies. These CD19 CAR T cells are engineered from donor T cells and administered in the allo-HSCT setting. We have found that the CD19 CAR T cells result in attenuated GVHD and we are investigating the mechanism whereby this occurs.