Washington State Cancer Immunotherapy Initiative


To conduct studies of T cell therapy (immunotherapy) for cancer, to identify characteristics of the T cells and the tumors that correlate with treatment effectiveness and safety

Anticipated Impact: 

More effective and less toxic cancer treatments, and establishment of Washington as a major hub for cancer immunotherapy treatment and commercialization


The overarching goal of this project is to establish a Seattle-based clinical research program for adults and children focused on the development of genetically modified T cells as a treatment for cancer. T cells are components of the immune system that can mediate destruction of diseased cells. Dr. Jensen, co-investigator Dr. Stanley Riddell of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (FHCRC), and colleagues are developing technology, currently in clinical trials, that can direct a cancer patient’s own T cells to seek out and destroy tumors. If successful, this approach – known as chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cell immunotherapy – could reduce or eliminate the need for debilitating surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy. LSDF Opportunity grant funding will support in-depth laboratory studies of CAR T cell immunotherapy to enable refinement of the therapy to maximize efficacy while minimizing toxicity. LSDF monies will be leveraged by philanthropic donations and other contributions from Seattle Children’s and FHCRC. Dr. Jensen, Dr. Riddell, and others have founded a Seattle-based company, Juno Therapeutics, to commercialize CAR T cell immunotherapy and related technologies, with the aim of making Washington a world leader in immunotherapy treatment, research, and product development.

Collaborating organization: Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center

Cancer Diagnostics, Therapeutics

Grant Update

Principal Investigator:
Michael Jensen
Grantee Organization:
Seattle Children's Research Institute
Grant Title:
Washington State Cancer Immunotherapy Initiative
Grant Cohort and Year:
2013 Opportunity (05)
Grant Period:
02/01/2014 - 01/31/2017 (Completed)
Grant Amount:
Our LSDF Opportunity grant supporting adult and pediatric CD19CAR T cell immunotherapy for nonHodgkin lymphoma, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and adult/pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia continues to make robust progress. In aggregate the trials at the FHCRC and Seattle Children's have enrolled and treated approximately 180 patients, both trials have completed their respective Phase I arms and are in Phase 2. The remission rates are unprecedented in this population of patients with heavily pretreated/refractory disease (approx 50% in NHL and >90% in ALL). Laboratory studies from specimens of treated patients continue to provide important insights in to the biology of this therapy and the mechanisms of toxicity. The advances in our clinical trials have provided Juno Therapeutics, Inc. with opportunities to accelerate their commercialization timelines.

Impact in Washington

Location of LSDF Grantee
Locations of Collaborations/Areas of Impact

Legislative Districts:
11, 34, 36, 37, 43, 46

Health Impacts

Cancer Diagnostics, Therapeutics