Marie Bleakley, MD, PhD

Marie Bleakley, MD, PhD


On staff since November 2005

Academic Title: Assistant Professor

Research Center: Center for Clinical and Translational Research

Marie Bleakley, MD, PhD, MMSc, is an attending physician at Seattle Children's Hospital and on the Pediatric Bone Marrow Transplant Service of the Clinical Research Division of Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC). She is an assistant professor in pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine, and an assistant member in immunology in the clinical research division at FHCRC.

Bleakley's research is focussed on the development of new forms of allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and immunotherapy in order to cure patients with high-risk acute leukemia and to reduce transplant complications.
One major research interest is the discovery of novel minor histocompatibility antigens expressed on leukemic stem cells. The ability to cure leukemia with allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant requires a type of donor immune cell called a T cell that recognizes and destroys leukemic cells. Some of these T cells can also damage normal cells and cause a condition called graft versus host disease (GVHD). Bleakley is conducting research to identify the target molecules on leukemic cells that the immune system recognizes, in order to develop immunotherapy for transplant patients that selectively kills leukemic cells without damaging normal cells. Immunotherapy administered in the form of vaccines or T cell infusions could improve the cure rate of patients with advanced leukemia, and early results of this research are very promising.

Bleakley is also conducting phase II clinical trials of selective depletion of specific T cell subsets from donor cells for allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant to prevent severe and chronic GVHD. More than 30 adolescents and adults have been treated on the first clinical trial. A new trial for younger children opened in fall 2013.


Medical/Professional School

Flinders University of South Australia, South Australia
University of Newcastle, Newcastle, NSW, Epidemiology
University of Sydney, Lidcombe NSW


Pediatrics, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Westmead


Pediatric Oncology, The Children's Hospital at Westmead, Westmead
Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle

Research Focus Area


Awards and Honors

Award Name Award Description Awarded By Award Date
Poster Prize for Best Poster in Transplant Category International Society of Paediatric Oncology 2001
Young Investigators Award The New Children's Hospital Westmead 1997
Boots Prize in Psychiatry Boots 1993


  • McGoldrick SM, Bleakley ME, Guerrero A, Turtle CJ, Yamamoto TN, Pereira SE, Delaney CS, Riddell SR
    Cytomegalovirus-specific T cells are primed early after cord blood transplant but fail to control virus in vivo.
    23412093 Blood , 2013 Apr, 4 : 121(14)2796-803 PMCID: PMC3617639
  • 2. Bleakley M, Heimfeld S, Jones L, Chaney C, Turtle C, Gooley T, Seropian S, Nishihori T, Riddell S, Shlomchik W
    Depletion of Naive T cells from Peripheral Blood Stem Cell Grafts for GVHD prevention
    ASBMT meeting abstracts 2013 , 2013
  • Pollack SM, Jungbluth AA, Hoch BL, Farrar EA, Bleakley M, Schneider DJ, Loggers ET, Rodler E, Eary JF, Conrad EU 3rd, Jones RL, Yee C
    NY-ESO-1 is a ubiquitous immunotherapeutic target antigen for patients with myxoid/round cell liposarcoma.
    22359263 Cancer , 2012 Sept. 15 : 118(18)4564-70 PMCID: PMC3361576
  • Yamamura T, Hikita J, Bleakley M, Hirosawa T, Sato-Otsubo A, Torikai H, Hamajima T, Nannya Y, Demachi-Okamura A, Maruya E, Saji H, Yamamoto Y, Takahashi T, Emi N, Morishima Y, Kodera Y, Kuzushima K, Riddell SR, Ogawa S, Akatsuka Y
    HapMap SNP Scanner: an online program to mine SNPs responsible for cell phenotype.
    22568758 Tissue antigens , 2012 Aug. : 80(2)119-25 PMCID: PMC3635041
  • Bleakley M, Turtle CJ, Riddell SR
    Augmentation of anti-tumor immunity by adoptive T-cell transfer after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.
    22992235 Expert review of hematology , 2012 Aug. : 5(4)409-25 PMCID: PMC3590108
  • Ochsenreither S, Majeti R, Schmitt T, Stirewalt D, Keilholz U, Loeb KR, Wood B, Choi YE, Bleakley M, Warren EH, Hudecek M, Akatsuka Y, Weissman IL, Greenberg PD
    Cyclin-A1 represents a new immunogenic targetable antigen expressed in acute myeloid leukemia stem cells with characteristics of a cancer-testis antigen.
    22529286 Blood , 2012 June 7 : 119(23)5492-501 PMCID: PMC3369684
  • Fisher BT, Zaoutis TE, Park JR, Bleakley M, Englund JA, Kane C, Arceci RJ, Guinan E, Smith FO, Luan X, Marr KA
    Galactomannan Antigen Testing for Diagnosis of Invasive Aspergillosis in Pediatric Hematology Patients.
    23687575 Journal of the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society , 2012 June : 1(2)103-111 PMCID: PMC3656552
  • Bleakley M, Riddell SR
    Exploiting T cells specific for human minor histocompatibility antigens for therapy of leukemia.
    21301477 Immunology and cell biology , 2011 Mar. : 89(3)396-407 PMCID: PMC3061548
  • Hudecek M, Schmitt TM, Baskar S, Lupo-Stanghellini MT, Nishida T, Yamamoto TN, Bleakley M, Turtle CJ, Chang WC, Greisman HA, Wood B, Maloney DG, Jensen MC, Rader C, Riddell SR
    The B-cell tumor-associated antigen ROR1 can be targeted with T cells modified to express a ROR1-specific chimeric antigen receptor.
    20702778 Blood , 2010 Nov. 25 : 116(22)4532-41 PMCID: PMC2996114
  • Bleakley M, Otterud BE, Richardt JL, Mollerup AD, Hudecek M, Nishida T, Chaney CN, Warren EH, Leppert MF, Riddell SR
    Leukemia-associated minor histocompatibility antigen discovery using T-cell clones isolated by in vitro stimulation of naive CD8+ T cells.
    20203263 Blood , 2010 June 10 : 115(23)4923-33 PMCID: PMC2890170
  • Nishida T, Hudecek M, Kostic A, Bleakley M, Warren EH, Maloney D, Storb R, Riddell SR
    Development of tumor-reactive T cells after nonmyeloablative allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplant for chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
    19567591 Clinical cancer research : an official journal of the American Association for Cancer Research , 2009 July 15 : 4759-68
  • Bleakley M, Nishida T, Otterud B, Riddell SR
    Discovery of Leukemia Associated Minor Histocompatibilty Antigens Using CD8+ T cell clones Isolated By Primary In Vitro Stimulation of Nave T cells
    20203263 Biology of Blood and Marrow Transplantation , 2008 : 24(2)10-11 PMCID: PMC2890170
  • Wolfl M, Kuball J, Ho WY, Nguyen H, Manley TJ, Bleakley M, Greenberg PD
    Activation-induced expression of CD137 permits detection, isolation, and expansion of the full repertoire of CD8+ T cells responding to antigen without requiring knowledge of epitope specificities.
    17371945 Blood , 2007 July 1 : 201-10
  • Halliday C, Hoile R, Sorrell T, James G, Yadav S, Shaw P, Bleakley M, Bradstock K, Chen S
    Role of prospective screening of blood for invasive aspergillosis by polymerase chain reaction in febrile neutropenic recipients of haematopoietic stem cell transplants and patients with acute leukaemia.
    16412020 British journal of haematology , 2006 Feb. : 132(4)478-86
  • Riddell SR, Bleakley M, Nishida T, Berger C, Warren EH
    Adoptive transfer of allogeneic antigen-specific T cells.
    16399578 Biology of blood and marrow transplantation : journal of the American Society for Blood and Marrow Transplantation , 2006 Jan. : 9-12
  • Li Y, Bleakley M, Yee C
    IL-21 influences the frequency, phenotype, and affinity of the antigen-specific CD8 T cell response.
    16081794 Journal of immunology (Baltimore, Md. : 1950) , 2005 Aug. 15 : 2261-9
  • Shaw PJ, Bleakley M, Lau L
    Unrelated cord blood transplant as salvage following non-engraftment of unrelated marrow transplant?
    15156168 Bone marrow transplantation , 2004 Aug. : 34(3)275-6
  • Bleakley M, Riddell SR
    Molecules and mechanisms of the graft-versus-leukaemia effect.
    15122208 Nature reviews. Cancer , 2004 May : 371-80
  • Shaw PJ, Bleakley M
    CD34 selection for bone marrow transplants for children with genetic diseases.
    14676786 Bone marrow transplantation , 2004 Feb. : 33(3)351; author reply 353
  • Bleakley M, Shaw PJ
    Growth and development of the pediatric recipient
    Clinical Bone Marrow and Blood Stem Cell Transplantation , 2004 : 3rd ed.1357-73
  • Ljungman P, Ribaud P, Eyrich M, Matthes-Martin S, Einsele H, Bleakley M, Machaczka M, Bierings M, Bosi A, Gratecos N, Cordonnier C, Infectious Diseases Working Party of the European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation
    Cidofovir for adenovirus infections after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation: a survey by the Infectious Diseases Working Party of the European Group for Blood and Marrow Transplantation.
    12665844 Bone marrow transplantation , 2003 Mar. : 31(6)481-6
  • Bleakley M, Shaw PJ, Nielsen JM
    Allogeneic bone marrow transplantation for childhood relapsed acute lymphoblastic leukemia: comparison of outcome in patients with and without a matched family donor.
    12105770 Bone marrow transplantation , 2002 July : 30(1)1-7
  • Bleakley M, Lau L, Shaw PJ, Kaufman A
    Bone marrow transplantation for paediatric AML in first remission: a systematic review and meta-analysis.
    12058234 Bone marrow transplantation , 2002 May : 29(10)843-52
  • Shaw PJ, Bleakley M, Burgess M
    Safety of early immunization against measles/mumps/rubella after bone marrow transplantation.
    12001909 Blood , 2002 May 1 : 3486
  • Bleakley M, Shaw PJ
    Searching for a cord blood unit for transplantation based on the unit's cell count.
    11019853 Bone marrow transplantation , 2000 Sept. : 26(5)585-6
  • Shaw PJ, Bleakley M
    Systemic inflammatory response syndrome associated with amifostine.
    10742082 Medical and pediatric oncology , 2000 Apr, : 34(4)309-10

Research Funding

Grant Title Grantor Amount Award Date
Hope Grant Hyundai Sept. 2012 - Dec. 2014
Damon Runyon Clinical Investigator Award July 2011 - June 2014
Career Development Award Paul Calabresi (NCI K12 CA079630) July 2010 - July 2011
Special Fellow in Clinical Research Award Leukemia and Lymphoma Society July 2008 - June 2010
Millennium New Investigator Award American Society of Bone Marrow Transplant 2008 - 2010
Fellowship Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of America July 2005 - June 2008