Welcome to the Jensen Lab
Here at Seattle Children’s, the Jensen lab is pursuing a cutting-edge treatment that reprograms a child’s defense system to attack and kill cancer cells, without chemotherapy or radiation – or their debilitating side effects.
While the human immune system is a powerful tool for fighting infections and viruses, cancer flies under its radar. Because cancer cells begin as healthy cells, the immune system doesn’t recognize them as a threat, leaving the disease free to overtake its victims.
A revolution against cancer
The Jensen lab’s approach starts by taking T-cells – specialized white blood cells that are very good at wiping out infections – from a patient’s own blood. Then, recombinant DNA is inserted into these cells, instructing them to recognize cancer cells and kill them.
The immunotherapy approach is remarkably effective at curing cancer in mice, and the Jensen lab was created to turn this breakthrough into treatments that save children’s lives. Working together with partner organizations such as the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and City of Hope, the lab’s team is preparing to guide a new generation of immunotherapies from the lab to the clinic.
Turning research discoveries into life-saving therapies
To accelerate this immunotherapy research, Seattle Children’s is completing a multi-million-dollar cell manufacturing facility that will be among a small handful of pediatric facilities meeting strict FDA requirements for manufacturing cells. There, the Jensen lab will conduct Phase II trials on T-cell treatments for leukemia and lymphoma, and develop similar therapies targeting many other cancers. As the research progresses, it may be only a matter of time before these treatments break the grip of cancers that affect children, and make key contributions to therapies that also save adults.
Michael Jensen, MD, is a renowned pediatric cancer researcher. He joined Seattle Children’s in 2010 after spending 13 years at City of Hope, where he was director of the Pediatric Cancer Program and co-leader of the Cancer Immunotherapeutics and Tumor Immunology department.
Dr. Jensen has written more than 50 research papers, won two Young Investigator Awards, and received more than $2 million in research funding from the National Institutes of Health. At City of Hope, he conducted the first FDA authorized trial of T-cell therapies for children with recurrent neuroblastoma.
He was trained at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and completed a fellowship in pediatric hematology-oncology at the University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
Support Research Breakthroughs at Seattle Children's
While cancer treatments for adults are a multi-billion-dollar market that attracts investment from big pharmaceutical companies, childhood cancer doesn’t receive this level of funding despite the fact that cancer is the leading cause of childhood mortality by disease. Going through all the steps to receive FDA approval for human clinical trials is very expensive and many promising pediatric advances never make it into clinical practice due to a lack of financial support. This means the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research is critically dependent on philanthropy to achieve its goals.
Moving Jensen’s promising research forward is now a financial – not scientific – matter. Consider making a donation to Cancer Research.