Welcome to the Bleakley Lab

Improving outcomes for patients with high-risk leukemia

Dr. Bleakley is a pediatric oncologist and HCT physician with an active research interest in the development of new therapies and transplantation strategies to separate the graft-versus-leukemia effect (GVL) from graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD) in order to improve the outcomes of patient with high-risk leukemia.

The Bleakley laboratory focuses on:

  • The development and evaluation of strategies to engineer hematopoietic stem cell grafts to prevent GVHD and augment GVL in order to prevent leukemic relapse,
  • Preclinical development and clinical trials of adoptive T cell immunotherapy to augment GVL and thereby prevent and treat relapse after allogeneic HCT and
  • Discovery of leukemia-associated minor histocompatibility antigens as targets for future immunotherapy, graft engineering and/or vaccination to manage leukemic relapse after HCT.

The lab has extensive expertise in the isolation, culture, genetic modification, and propagation of antigen-specific T cells, in bioinformatics, genetic and molecular techniques employed for antigen discovery, and in flow cytometry and functional analysis of human T cells for correlative studies of human immunotherapy and HCT clinical trials.

Bleakley is the Sponsor of successful Investigational New Drug applications to the FDA and Principal Investigator of two ongoing and one recently completed clinical trial evaluating depletion of naïve T cells from allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell grafts to prevent GVHD. The research group is also currently completing the development of an adoptive T cell immunotherapy trial involving genetic modification of donor T cells using a lentiviral vector to express a T cell receptor specific for the minor histocompatibility antigen HA-1.