Dr. Renier Brentjens obtained an MD/PhD (microbiology) from the University at Buffalo, completed a residency in medicine at Yale New Haven Hospital, and a medical oncology fellowship at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC). As a medical oncology fellow during his training at MSKCC, Dr. Brentjens initiated the initial preclinical studies demonstrating the potential clinical application of autologous T cells genetically modified to target the CD19 antigen through the retroviral gene transfer of artificial T cell receptors termed chimeric antigen receptors (CARs).
Following the completion of his medical oncology training, Dr. Brentjens became the principal investigator of his own laboratory. As a principal investigator, Dr. Brentjens successfully translated these studies to the clinical setting treating patients with relapsed CD19+ tumors including chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and B cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (B-ALL). Ongoing pre-clinical research in the laboratory is focused on the further development of CAR modified T cells designed to overcome the hostile immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment through the generation of “armored CAR T cells” currently being translated to the clinical setting as second-generation CAR modified T cell clinical trials.
Additionally, work in the Brentjens lab has expanded this CAR technology to target additional tumor antigens expressed on other malignancies including solid tumors. In September 2021, Dr. Brentjens joined Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center as Deputy Director, Chair of Medicine, and The Katherine Anne Gioia Endowed Chair in Cancer Medicine, with a goal to advance cell and immune cancer therapies.