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Center for Cell and Gene Therapy

Houston, Texas

Center for Cell and Gene Therapy
Center for Cell and Gene Therapy
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Helen E. Heslop, M.D.

Departments of Medicine and Pediatrics
Section of Hematology-Oncology
Baylor College of Medicine

Interim Director - Center for Cell and Gene Therapy
Baylor College of Medicine
Texas Children's Hospital
Houston Methodist

Dan L. Duncan Chair Director
Adult Stem Cell Transplant Program
Houston Methodist

Associate Director Clinical Research
Dan L. Duncan Cancer Center

Phone: 832-824-4662

Board Certifications

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


  • M.B., Ch.B., Otago University Medical School, New Zealand
  • M.D., Otago University Medical School, New Zealand
  • Fellow, Department of Haematology, Royal Free Hospital, London, England

Research Interests

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'sDisease, 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

  • Williams LL, Rooney CM, Conley ME, Brenner MK, Krance RA, Heslop HE. Correction of Duncan's syndrome by allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. Lancet. 342:587-588, 1993.
  • Rooney CM, Smith CA, Ng CYC, Loftin S, Li C, Krance RA, Brenner MK, Heslop HE. Use of gene-modified virus-specific T lymphocytes to control Epstein-Barr virus-related lymphoproliferation. Lancet. 345:9-13, 1995.
  • Heslop HE, Benaim E, Brenner MK, Krance RA, Stricklin LM, Rochester RA, Billings R. Response of steroid-resistant graft-versus-host disease to lymphoblast antibody CBL1. Lancet. 346:805-806, 1995.
  • Heslop HE, Ng CYC, Li C, Smith CA, Loftin SK, Krance RA, Brenner MK, Rooney CM. Long term restoration of immunity against Epstein-Barr virus infection by adoptive transfer of gene-modified virus-specific T lymphocytes. Nature Med. 2:1-5, 1996.
  • Hongeng S, Krance RA, Bowman LC, Srivastava DK, Cunningham JM, Horwitz E, Brenner MK, Heslop HE. Identical outcome of matched sibling and matched unrelated donor bone marrow transplantation in pediatric leukemia patients. Lancet. 350:767-770, 1997.
  • Rooney CM, Smith AA, Ng CYC, Loftin SK, Sixbey JW, Gan Y, Bowman LC, Krance RA, Brenner MK, Heslop HE, Infusion of Cytotoxic T Cells for the Prevention and Treatment of Epstein-Barr Virus-Induced Lymphoma in Allogeneic Transplant Recipients. Blood. 92:1549-1555, 1998.
  • Kuehnle I, Huls MH, Liu Z, Semelmann M, Krance RA, Brenner MK, Rooney CM, Heslop HE. CD20 Monoclonal Antibody (Rituximab) for Therapy of EBV Lymphoma after Hemopoietic Stem Cell Transplant. Blood. 95:1502-1505, 2000.
  • Wagner, H. J., Cheng, Y. C., Huls, M. H., Gee, A. P., Kuehnle, I., Krance, R. A., Brenner, M. K., Rooney, C. M., and Heslop, H. E. Prompt versus Pre-emptive Intervention For EBV- Lymphoproliferative Disease. Blood. 2004. 103:3979-81.
  • Bollard CM, Aguilar L, Straathof KC, Gahn B, Huls MH, Rousseau A, Sixbey J, Gresik MV, Carrum G, Hudson M, Dilloo D, Gee AP, Brenner MK, Rooney CM, Heslop HE. Cytotoxic T Lymphocyte Therapy for EBV-Positive Hodgkin's Disease. J Exp Med. 2004, 200:1623-33.
  • Straathof KC, Bollard CM, Popat U, Huls MH, Lopez T, Morriss MC, Gresik MV, Gee AP, Russell HV, Brenner MK, Rooney CM, Heslop HE. Treatment of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma with Epstein-Barr Virus-specific T Lymphocytes. Blood. 105; 1898-1904. 2005.
  • Savoldo B, Goss JA, Hammer MM, Zhang L, Lopez T, Gee AP, Lin YF, Quiros-Tejeira RE, Reinke P, Schubert S, Gottschalk S, Finegold MJ, Brenner MK, Rooney CM, Heslop HE. Treatment of solid organ transplant recipients with autologous Epstein Barr virus-specific cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). Blood. 2006;108:2942-2949.

    Leen AM, Myers GD, Sili U, Huls MH, Weiss H, Leung KS, Carrum G, Krance RA, Chang CC, Molldrem JJ, Gee AP, Brenner MK, Heslop HE, Rooney CM, Bollard CM. Monoculture-derived T lymphocytes specific for multiple viruses expand and produce clinically relevant effects in immunocompromised individuals. Nature Med. 2006;12:1160-1166.

    Bollard CM, Gottschalk S, Leen AM, Weiss H, Straathof KC, Carrum G, Khalil M, Huls MH, Chang CC, Gresik MV, Gee AP, Brenner MK, Rooney CM, Heslop HE, Complete Responses of Relapsed Lymphoma Following Genetic Modification of Tumor-Antigen Presenting Cells and T-lymphocyte transfer. Blood. 2007 110:2838-45. PMCID: PMC2018666

    Pule MA, Savoldo B, Myers GD, Rossig C, Russell HV, Dotti G, Huls MH, Liu E, Gee AP, Yvon E, Weiss HL, Liu H, Rooney CM, Heslop HE, Brenner MK. The Function of Virus-specific T cells Engineered to Co-Express Tumor-Specific Receptors in Patients with Cancer. Nature Med. 2008 Nov;14:1264-70. PMCID: 2749734

    Louis CU, Straathof K, Bollard CM, Torrano V, Gerken C, Huls MH, Gresik V, Weiss LH, Gee AP, Brenner MK, Rooney CM, Heslop HE, Gottschalk S. Enhancing the In Vivo Expansion of Adoptively Transferred EBV-specific CTL with Lymphodepleting CD45 Monoclonal Antibodies in NPC Patients Blood. Blood. 2009 113(11):2442-50 PMCID: PMC2656271

    Leen AM, Christin A, Myers GD, Liu H, Cruz CR, Hanley PJ, Kennedy-Nasser AA, Leung KS, Gee A, Krance R, Brenner MK, Heslop HE, Rooney CM, Bollard CM. Cytotoxic T-lymphocyte therapy with donor T cells prevents and treats adenovirus and Epstein-Barr virus infection after haploidentical and matched unrelated stem cell transplant. Blood. 2009;114:4283-4292 PMCID: PMC2774556

    Heslop HE How I treat EBV Lymphoproliferation Blood. 2009. 114:4002-8. PMCID: PMC2774540

    Foster AE, Okur FV, Biagi E, Lu A, Dotti G, Yvon E, Savoldo B, Carrum G, Goodell MA, Heslop HE, Brenner MK Selective Elimination of a Chemoresistant Side-Population of B-CLL Cells by Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes in Subjects Receiving an Autologous hCD40L/IL-2 Tumor Vaccine. Leukemia. 2010 24:563-72

    Heslop HE, Slobod KS, Pule MA, Hale GA, Rousseau A, Smith CA, Bollard CM, Liu H, Wu MF, Rochester RJ, Amrolia PJ, Hurwitz JL, Brenner MK, Rooney CM: Long-term outcome of EBV-specific T-cell infusions to prevent or treat EBV-related lymphoproliferative disease in transplant recipients. Blood 2010, 115:925-935. Plenary Paper. PMCID: PMC Journal – In Process

    Cruz CR, Hanley PJ, Liu H, Torrano V, Lin YF, Arce JA, Gottschalk S, Savoldo B, Dotti G, Louis CU, Leen AM, Gee AP, Rooney CM, Brenner MK, Bollard CM, Heslop HE. Adverse events following infusion of T cells for adoptive immunotherapy: a 10-year experience. Cytotherapy. 2010 epub

    Melenhorst JJ, Leen AM, Bollard CM, Quigley MF, Price DA, Rooney CM, Brenner MK, Barrett AJ, Heslop HE. Allogeneic virus-specific T cells with HLA alloreactivity do not produce GVHD in human subjects. Blood. 2010 epub

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