Director, Solid Tumor Immunotherapy Laboratory, Center for Advanced Cellular Therapeutics University of Pennsylvania
Dr. Joseph Fraietta completed his training as a postdoctoral scientist in Carl June’s laboratory at the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA) where he conducted research on the mechanisms underlying the persistence of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells in patients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. In 2016, Dr. Fraietta assumed directorship of the Product Development Laboratory (PDL) in the first-of-its-kind Center for Advanced Cellular Therapeutics in the Perelman Center for Advanced Medicine. During this time, he developed novel approaches for the treatment of cancer through genetic modification of T cells that contributed to the initiation of multiple clinical trials (NCT01029366, NCT02167360, NCT02640209, NCT03089203 and NCT02209376). He is currently the Director of the Solid Tumor Immunotherapy Laboratory at Penn where his research is focused on enhancing the specificity and efficacy of genetically-redirected T cells, developing mechanisms to render T cells resistant to the immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment and improving the processes of engineering lymphocytes for infusion into patients. He also played an integral role in defining the metabolic requirements underlying chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell activation, as well as the signaling pathways that regulate cross-talk between macrophages and tumor cells. In a further effort to define the mechanisms of successful clinical responses to T cell therapy, he is currently investigating the role of epigenetics in the effectiveness of T cell responses. More specifically, these research efforts are focused on how epigenetics relates to T cell differentiation, immune exhaustion, vector silencing and the persistence of adoptively-transferred lymphocytes which may impact treatment outcomes. As a young investigator and junior faculty member, Dr. Fraietta has made several contributions to the field of immunotherapy and his high-impact findings have been published in Nature, Science, Nature Medicine, Science Translational Medicine, Cancer Discovery, Immunity and Blood.