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.
John D. McMannis is currently a consultant in the area of Cell and Gene Therapy. Over the past thirty years, he has been involved in the academic and commercial industry, focusing on the manufacturing of clinical cellular products for Phase I all the way to Commercial Product. Most recently, Dr. McMannis was employed at Mesoblast, Inc. as the Executive Vice President of Manufacturing. He directed the group overseeing the clinical and commercial manufacturing of Mesenchymal Progenitor Cells. Before then, he was a Professor of Medicine at UT MDAnderson Cancer Center, and the Director of the Clinical Transplantation Laboratory and Technical Director of the Cord Blood Bank.
John has also been employed by Baxter, Cell Therapy Division, and COBE BCT (now Terumo BCT). Dr. McMannis received his PhD in Immunology from Rush Univerity, Chicago, IL, and his undergraduate degree in Microbiology from the University of Notre Dame.
Michael V. Seiden, M.D., PhD, is an oncologist and healthcare executive with 30 years of experience spanning a variety of clinical, research, and operational roles. He currently serves as an advisor or Board member for a variety of small to mid-size early-stage companies mostly centered around cancer and specialty care. He is currently a Board Member for Glide Health, Medicom Technologies, and Nemucore Medical Innovations and advises several oncology companies including Grail, EQRX, Blue Note Therapeutics, and other venture back companies Previous Board roles have included Next Oncology and Medfusion prior to its sale to Quest. He also serves as a Board Member for non-profit organizations including the Damon Runyon Cancer Research Foundation and Lisa’s Army.
His previous operational roles include serving as the President of The US Oncology Network, the largest collection of community-based oncology care practices in the US, and a leader in the delivery of value-based oncology care and community-based clinical research. Previously, Dr. Seiden served as the senior vice president and Chief Medical Officer of The US Oncology Network and McKesson Specialty Health. Before joining The Network, he served as CEO, President, and Cancer Center Director of Fox Chase Cancer Center, a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center, research facility, and hospital in Philadelphia. Prior to Fox Chase, Dr. Seiden spent many years practicing oncology at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, where he also served as Chief of the Cancer Center Clinical Research Unit as well as the program director for the Gynecologic Oncology Research Program for the Dana Farber/Harvard Cancer Center.
Malcolm K Brenner is the Founding Director, Center for Cell and Gene Therapy, Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Methodist Hospital, Texas Children’s Hospital, and the Fayez Sarofim Distinguished Service Professor at BCM.
Dr. Brenner obtained his medical degrees and his PhD from the University of Cambridge, England. He moved to the USA in 1990, to head the Cell and Gene Therapy Program at St Jude Children’s Research Hospital, where his group performed the first human gene transfer studies outside of the NIH and the first anywhere to use marrow stem cells as the target. In 1998 he moved to his current position. Over the past 30 years, Dr. Brenner has devoted his career as a physician-scientist to the field of stem cell transplantation through the therapeutic use of T cell immunologic approaches and genetic engineering strategies, particularly in the treatment of cancer. His interests now include combining oncolytic virotherapy with cellular immunotherapy.
He served as Editor-in-Chief of Molecular Therapy and as former President of the American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT) and of the International Society for Cell and Gene Therapy. Dr. Brenner has earned widespread recognition for his scientific achievements and leadership in the field, including the ASGCT Outstanding Achievement Award, Human Gene Therapy’s Pioneer Award, the American Society of Hematology Mentor Award, and the European Society of Gene and Cell Therapy Outstanding Achievement award.
For his contributions to the field, Dr. Brenner has been elected a member of the American Association of Physicians and of the National Academy of Medicine
Jonathan Bramson, PhD, is the Vice Dean, Research for the Faculty of Health Sciences and a Professor in the Department of Medicine at McMaster University. He holds the John Bienenstock Chair in Molecular Medicine. His research is focused on the use of cells as drugs. Specifically, his lab is developing methods to manufacture white blood cell “drugs” that attack cancer. To optimize the anti-tumor activity of these white blood cell drugs, his research team is using a combination of genetic engineering, synthetic biology, and chemical biology approaches to re-wire relevant signaling pathways within white blood cells to bolster their anti-tumor potency.
Together with Dr. Christopher Helsen, Dr. Bramson developed the T cell antigen coupler (TAC) receptor in 2014 and founded Triumvira Immunologics in 2015. Dr. Bramson served as the CSO for Triumvira from 2015 – 2020 and currently serves as the Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee.