Bleakley Lab

Bleakley Lab

Bleakley Lab group shot

Our Research

Marie Bleakley, M.D., PhD is a pediatric oncologist and hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT) physician. She is an Associate Member in the Fred Hutch Clinical Research Division’s Program in Immunology and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics in the University of Washington School of Medicine (UWSOM). She is Director of the Cellular Therapy and Transplantation for Pediatric Leukemia and the Gerdin Family Endowed Chair for Leukemia Research at Fred Hutch, and Co-Director of the Integrated High Risk Leukemia Clinic at Seattle Children’s Hospital. Her research laboratory is developing new therapies and transplantation strategies to separate the beneficial Graft-versus-Leukemia Effect (GVL) from potentially dangerous Graft-versus-Host-Disease (GVHD), in order to improve the outcomes of patients with high-risk leukemia.

Dr. Bleakley is the sponsor of successful Investigational New Drug applications to the FDA and Principal Investigator of one ongoing and two recently completed clinical trials evaluating depletion of naïve T cells from allogeneic peripheral blood stem cell grafts to prevent GVHD. The research group has also developed an adoptive T cell immunotherapy trial involving genetic modification of donor T cells using a lentiviral vector to express a T cell receptor specific for the minor histocompatibility antigen, HA-1.

Featured Publications

Blood 2018

Dossa RG, Cunningham T, Sommermeyer D, Medina-Rodriguez I, Biernacki MA, Foster K, Bleakley M. Development of T-cell immunotherapy for hematopoietic stem cell transplantation recipients at risk of leukemia relapse

The Journal of Clinical Investigation 2015

Bleakley M, Heimfeld S, Loeb KR, Jones LA, Chaney C, Seropian S, Gooley TA, Sommermeyer F, Riddell SR, Shlomchik WD. Outcomes of acute leukemia patients transplanted with naive T cell-depleted stem cell grafts.

Journal of Clinical Oncology 2022

Bleakley M, Sehgal A, Seropian S, Biernacki MA, Krakow EF, Dahlberg A, Persinger H, Hilzinger B, Martin PJ, Carpenter PA, Flowers ME, Voutsinas J, Gooley TA, Loeb K, Wood BL, Heimfeld S, Riddell SR, Shlomchik WD. Naive T-Cell Depletion to Prevent Chronic Graft-Versus-Host Disease

The Journal of Clinical Investigation 2020

Biernacki MA, Foster KA, Woodward KB, Coon ME, Cummings C, Cunningham TM, Dossa RG, Brault M, Stokke J, Olsen TM, Gardner K, Estey E, Meshinchi S, Rongvaux A, Bleakley M. CBFB-MYH11 fusion neoantigen enables T cell recognition and killing of acute myeloid leukemia. 

Blood 2010

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

About the Program in Immunology

Investigators in The Program in Immunology are learning how immune cells respond to disease and how to safely enhance immune responses to better control, cure and potentially prevent cancers and other serious diseases. Nobel Prize-winning work on bone marrow transplantation began in the 1960s at the Fred Hutch, and provided the first definitive example of the immune system’s curative power. Fred Hutch researchers went on to show that donor immune T cells play a major role in successful transplant outcomes. In the 1990s, Program in Immunology investigators proved that antigen-specific T cells can be isolated, expanded in the laboratory and adoptively transferred to patients to augment T cell immunity. Techniques have since been developed to genetically engineer T cells to enhance their survival and their anti-cancer activities. And, studies are now showing how to use other types of immune cells to boost therapeutic immune responses. With our depth and breadth of expertise, we are advancing a detailed understanding of immunological processes and developing revolutionary immunotherapies to fight disease.