Positions

Professor
Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics
Section of Hematology-Oncology
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX, US
Director - Center for Cell and Gene Therapy
Baylor College of Medicine
Houston, TX, US
Texas Children's Hospital
Houston Methodist
Dan L. Duncan Chair
Baylor College of Medicine
Associate Director Clinical Research
Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center
Director
Adult Stem Cell Transplant Program
Houston Methodist

Education

M.D. from University Of Otago, New Zealand
Advanced Training from Royal Free Hospital
Advanced Training from Christchurch Hospital
Advanced Training from Princess Margaret Hospital, New Zealand
M.B.,Ch.B. from University Of Otago, New Zealand

Certifications

Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians (FRACP)
Fellow of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia (FRCPA)

Honors & Awards

President

Professional Interests

  • Cell and Gene Therapy

Professional Statement

Helen Heslop is a physician-scientist engaged in translational research focusing on adoptive immunotherapy with gene-modified effector cells, to improve hemopoietic stem cell transplantation and cancer therapy. A key step in this strategy has been the translation of laboratory findings to Phase I and II clinical trials, as exemplified by studies of Epstein Barr virus-induced lymphoproliferative disease (EBV-LPD), a fatal complication in about 15% of recipients of unrelated or mismatched family member bone marrow transplants in the early 1990s. In collaboration with Dr Cliona Rooney, she developed methods for early diagnosis of this disease and procedures for generating cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) from bone marrow donors. These studies were the first to demonstrate that antigen-specific cytotoxic T cells could eradicate an established malignancy and because the cells were genetically marked, we obtained definitive evidence of cell expansion, trafficking to tumor sites and decade-long persistence. Subsequent protocols have extended this approach to Hodgkin's Disease, NHL and nasopharyngeal cancer. She has an additional focus in reconstituting antiviral immunity post transplant in collaboration with Drs. Rooney, Leen and Bollard and is currently leading an NHLBI-funded multicenter trial of allogeneic multivirus specific T cells. She therefore has extensive experience in developing and conducting transplant studies and cell and gene therapy studies under IND and has also obtained orphan drug designation for my initial study. Other areas of research focus in collaboration include identification of novel tumor antigens and genetic modification of CTLs to overcome tumor evasion strategies. In collaboration with Drs. Brenner, Dotti, Savoldo, Gottschalk and Ahded group they are also evaluating if transduction of CTLs with chimeric antigen receptors can allow targeting of CD19+ve, CD30+ve and her2neu+ve malignancies.

Selected Publications

Funding

SPORE in Lymphoma
- #P50 CA126752
Grant funding from NCI
The overall goal of the Lymphoma SPORE at Baylor College of Medicine and The Methodist Hospital is to devise in the laboratory, and validate in the clinic, interventional strategies, with the broad objective of improving outcome in lymphomas and in chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL).
“Enhancing T Cell Therapy of Cancer
- #PO1 CA094237
Grant funding from NCI
Major Goals of Project: 1) increase the anti-tumor efficacy of the CTL; 2) expand the range of applications for which viral specific CTL can be used; and 3) identify the epitopes most readily recognized by the tumor specific CTL so that we can enhance the cellular responsiveness to these targets.
Immunotherapy of Hematologic Malignancy
Grant funding from Leukemia and Lymphoma Society
The major goals of this program are to develop immunotherapy approaches for a broad range of hematologic malignancies
Training in Cell and Gene Therapy
- #T32 HL092332
Grant funding from NHLBI
This is a training grant for graduate students and postdoctoral fellows in Cell and Gene Therapy.
Blood and Marrow Transplant Clinical Trials Network (BMT CTN) - Core Clinical Centers (U01)
- #U10 HL10894
Grant funding from NHLBI