Thomas J. Kipps, M.D., Ph.D.
Director of the CRC
Project Involvement: Project 3 - Immunology
Project Involvement: Administrative Core
Kipps is internationally recognized for his contributions to the understanding of the immunobiology, cell biology and molecular genetics of human B-cell malignancies, with emphasis on Chronic Lymphocytic Leukemia (CLL). He conducted the first FDA-approved Phase I gene therapy trial for cancer in San Diego. He also discovered a new type of cell that protects leukemia cells, prompting him to name them “nurselike” cells (NLCs).
In his current work, Kipps is developing a method to deliver a specially modified gene directly into tumor cells in the patient. Once embedded, the gene would produce molecules designed to convert the tumor into a microscopic vaccine-manufacturing plant. In this way, cancer-killing vaccine would be produced internally over a period of time and would access lung cancer cells that are not accessible to the surgeon.
Kipps earned his M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from Harvard Medical School in 1979, and completed residency training in internal medicine and fellowship training in hematology at Stanford University from 1979 to 1985. He completed research training in genetics at Stanford, was appointed associate professor at UC San Diego in 1990 and promoted to the rank of professor in 1994.
Academic chairs that attract and support distinguished faculty have been endowed in the great universities of the world for close to 500 years. The Tasch Chair was established in 1990 through an endowment by Evelyn Tasch in memory of her husband, Edwin, who died of lung cancer. Kipps is the second holder of the chair.
- Human B-cell physiology with emphasis on B-cell antigen presentation, accessory molecules involved in cognate T-cell <-> B-cell interactions, signal transduction, and immunoglobulin gene expression
- Human B-cell lymphoproliferative diseases with emphasis on pathogenic mechanisms, immunoglobulin gene expression, and innovative forms of immunotherapy
- In vitro or in vivo somatic cell transfection or transduction using plasmid DNA or viral expression vectors for gene immunotherapy of neoplastic disease
- Structure-function studies of immunoglobulin or accessory molecules involved in signal transduction or cognate cell-cell interactions