Top NCI Researcher Joins School of Medicine Faculty

(​May 2018) The University of Colorado School of Medicine announced that Terry Fry, MD, has been recruited from the National Cancer Institute to join the faculty, effective February 2018.

Fry was among the first scientists to investigate the potential to insert modified genes into a child’s own T-cells to target CD19, a surface protein found on nearly all cells affected by acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The first product using this technology, called chimeric antigen T-cell (CAR-T cells), was approved by the FDA for pediatric use in August 2017 and achieved an 80 percent remission rate in children with highly refractory leukemia resistant to all other therapies including conventional bone marrow transplant.

Fry has led several major studies to improve treatments for people with leukemia. In November, the journal Nature Medicine published an article that outlined a new treatment that genetically alters a patient’s cells to fight cancer. Fry is the first author of the study. His work has been highlighted in the Discovery documentary First in Human, which aired last August, and in a recent New York Times article and Washington Post feature.

“Treatment for autoimmune diseases involves manipulating the same cells we’re manipulating for cancer treatment,” said Fry. “There are ways to use these same procedures to turn these cells off instead of on. This absolutely has potential beyond cancer.”

Fry will be joining the Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Initiative as its co-director. The Human Immunology and Immunotherapy Initiative is part of the School of Medicine’s Transformational Research Funding program, which provided five grants totaling $80 million to research projects on campus. Funding for the program comes from clinical earnings of the faculty, from annual financial support from UCHealth, and philanthropy, including a commitment by The Anschutz Foundation.​ 

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