Lymphoid Malignancy Research
Our research seeks to better understand the biology of lymphoid malignancies with the goal of improving the diagnosis and management of patients. We are studying the mechanisms by which the innate immune system kills malignant lymphocytes ligated with unconjugated monoclonal antibodies (mAb). mAb such as rituximab have significantly improved the treatment and outcome of patients with B cell malignancies but are not curative as monotherapies. We have recently shown that resistance of chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) cells is primarily caused by the inability of macrophages to maintain continuous phagocytosis of anti-CD20 mAb ligated target cells. We are now studying the cellular and molecular mechanisms of this barrier to more effective therapy. Our data will be used to design therapeutic regimens to overcome these barriers for testing in clinical trials. A better understanding of the mechanisms and limitations of antibody dependent cellular cytotoxicity will be valuable in understanding the physiological, pathological and therapeutic role of this important immune function.