Dr. John Webb: Manufacturing T Cells for Immunotherapy Clinical Trials
October 13, 2015
Hello everyone, my name is Dr. John Webb and I’m the senior project leader for the upcoming immunotherapy clinical trials at the BC Cancer Agency.
As project leader, I will direct the manufacturing of T cells for immunotherapy clinical trials – this includes designing, overseeing and implementing immunotherapy for use with patients in the clinic.
My interest in cancer research began with graduate training at the University of British Columbia, after which I spent several years working in both academia and industry where I developed an interest in the immunotherapy of cancer.
I joined the Deeley Research Centre (DRC) at the BC Cancer Agency in 2007 to contribute these skills to the cancer immunotherapy group that was just beginning to coalesce there.
Since that time, we have made some amazing discoveries, on many fronts, including in vaccine development and, in particular, on spontaneously arising immunity to ovarian cancer. On this latter topic, we have discovered a new marker for tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes in ovarian cancer. Called CD103, this marker is now being deployed by many investigators around the world as a standard way of classifying tumour-infiltrating lymphocytes, in many different tumour settings. This discovery was truly a team effort, involving scientists with different but complementary skills, working together at the DRC.
We are now taking this new knowledge forward to the clinic, where hopefully the information we have gathered will be deployed in the new clinical immunotherapy program we are about to launch. This is a major departure from conventional bench research to actual treatment of patients. Like every cancer scientist, my main motivation is the knowledge I have accrued over my career will ultimately contribute to the well-being of cancer patients here in B.C. and indeed across Canada and beyond.