Karen Aboody MD
Dr. Aboody has extensive expertise in stem cell biology, gene therapy, preclinical tumor models, regulatory and GMP production. She received her MD from Mount Sinai School of Medicine in 1993 and her post-doctoral training in Molecular Neurogenetics at Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School in 1997. She held positions as Senior Scientist with Layton BioScience, Inc., and as Visiting Scientist at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School. She was the first to demonstrate the inherent tumor-tropic properties of neural stem cells (NSCs) and has since pioneered the field of NSCs as a platform for targeted cancer therapeutics. She received the American Association of Neurological Surgeons Young Investigator award in 2000, and the American Society of Cell and Gene Therapy Outstanding New Investigator Award in 2008. She is nationally and internationally renown for her translational work, bringing this NSC-mediated therapy to first-in-human clinical trials for brain tumor patients in 2010. Dr. Aboody has over 50 publications in her field and is inventor on four stem cell patents.
Dr. Aboody is currently a Professor at City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center and Beckman Research Institute. She heads a translation stem cell-oncology laboratory focused on using tumor-tropic NSCs to target therapeutic payloads directly to invasive and metastatic solid tumors. In 2013, her group completed a first-in-human clinical safety trial for NSC-mediated enzyme/prodrug (TBX.CD + 5-FC) therapy for patients with recurrent high-grade glioma. This trial demonstrated safety, proof of concept for localized conversion of prodrug to active chemotherapeutic in the brain, non-immunogenicity, and NSC migration to sites of tumor in the opposite hemisphere. A phase I dose escalation opened for accrual at City of Hope and is ongoing. She recently completed an academic $18M CIRM Disease Team Award that led to IND filing of a 2nd generation NSC product (TBX.CE + Irinotecan) for brain tumor patients, with a Phase I trial planned for initiation in 2016 (funded by NIH). A $4.7M NIH U-01 is in progress to apply this same therapeutic NSC approach, given intravenously, for children with metastatic neuroblastoma which is planned to reach the clinic in 2018.