Stephen Forman, MD & Christine Brown, PhD

Cellular Immunotherapy Center, City of Hope – international leaders in leukemia, lymphoma and bone marrow transplantation.

Category of Humanitarian Benefit: Health and Medical

Short Biography/Background

The Cellular Immunotherapy Center at City of Hope was first established as a small research lab in the late 1990s with the dream of developing novel cellular therapies that specifically target tumor cells.  Since these early days, through the leadership of Drs. Stephen Forman and Christine Brown, and the wonderful support of City of Hope Leadership, the research has grown into the translational therapy program known today as the Cellular Immunotherapy Center.

Project Name and Description

One of the most promising areas of cancer research and treatment right now is known as immunotherapy, in which a patient’s own immune system is enlisted in the fight against cancer. City of Hope has made Cellular Immunotherapy a central component of their groundbreaking research and clinical trials currently underway.

Through the Cellular Immunotherapy Center, City of Hope continues to be at the forefront of a powerful form of immunotherapy known as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell therapy. Using this approach, immune cells are taken from a patient’s bloodstream, reprogrammed to recognize and attack a specific protein found in cancer cells, then reintroduced into the patient’s system, where they get to work destroying targeted tumor cells.


City of Hope is leading the way in advancing CAR T therapies by:

• Applying COH research driven proprietary CAR T technology in active preclinical and clinical programs across a range of hematologic cancers and solid tumors.

• Partnering with global biopharmaceutical companies to make their therapies available to patients.

• Collaborating with other academic researchers to advance clinical research in areas of high unmet medical need.

Among the diseases that City of Hope physicians and scientists are targeting with CAR T cell therapy are lymphoma, leukemia, myeloma, brain metastasis, prostate cancer, and glioblastoma, with trials for additional malignancies opening in 2020 and beyond.

City of Hope’s CAR T trials for glioblastoma — a type of aggressive brain tumor — were the first of their kind in the world by injecting CAR T cells directly into the tumor site and cerebrospinal fluid. A case report was published in 2016 in the New England Journal of Medicine.


With City of Hope’s clinical care, research and production facilities all on one campus, the Cellular Immunotherapy Center has been uniquely positioned to lead this groundbreaking work. Few institutions are capable of harnessing the same comprehensive “bench to bedside” resources necessary for the discovery, translational research, clinical development, manufacturing, quality assurance and delivery of leading-edge treatments for our patients. City of Hope has the ability to harvest, reprogram, multiply and deliver T cells all on the same campus, and has been doing so for nearly 20 years.


City of Hope’s Cellular Immunotherapy Center is not only striving to develop breakthrough cellular immunotherapies of their own, but is also actively collaborating with other academic institutions and bringing company sponsored trials to COH patients.  Below is a link that lists some of the many CAR T cell trials currently available at COH, as well as some links highlighting the novel research that is leading to new CAR T trials in 2020 all of which are shepherded to the clinical for COH patients through the Cellular Immunotherapy Center.