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Video On Demand: Virus Specific T cells as a Platform for Solid Tumor Immunotherapy

John Connolly, Ph.D, Chief Scientific Officer, Tessa Therapeutics

The ability to simultaneously monitor changes in multiple immune parameters holds great discriminatory and instructive power for the purpose of biomarker validation and mechanistic target discovery. In the case of virus-specific T cell therapy for solid tumors, an examination of the systemic, cellular and local immune environment during the course of treatment has yielded a series of predictive biomarkers correlating with immunogenicity, response to therapy and overall survival on trial.

An analysis of antigen specific T-cells have identified anti-viral responses with positive prognostic value. Differences in the immunosuppressive state of the patient’s activated regulatory T-cells (Tregs) and the expansion or contraction of the myeloid-derived suppressor cell (MDSC) compartment, point to a mechanism of action for the therapy.

John Connolly, Ph.D

Chief Scientific Officer
Tessa Therapeutics

Dr. Connolly is the CSO of Tessa Therapeutics, a Senior Principal Investigator and Director for Translational Immunology at the Institute of Molecular and Cellular Biology (IMCB). As a human immunologist, his research interests focus on target discovery for immune modulation.

An Adjunct Associate Professor of Immunology at Baylor University, he served on the Board of Governors for the Institute of Biomedical Sciences.

Dr. Connolly received his Ph.D. in Immunology from Dartmouth Medical School and studied human dendritic cell biology under Dr. Michael Fanger. During this time he was involved in the development of immunotherapeutic preclinical models and clinical trials for Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).

He moved to the Baylor Institute for Immunology Research, a fully translational research institute dedicated to rationally designed vaccines against cancer and infectious disease. Dr. Connolly served as the Director of Research Initiatives for the Baylor Research Institute, leading a large integrated translational research resource and multi-institutional programs. During his tenure at Baylor, Dr. Connolly was a central core facility director of the NIAID Centers for Translational Research on Human Immunology and Biodefense, an NIH funded consortium of basic, translational research and clinical trials focused on vaccine design.

Dr. Connolly is the past President of the Board of Directors of The American Cancer Society in N. Texas.

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