Riddell Lab

Riddell Lab

Stanley Riddell in lab

Our Research

Welcome to the Riddell Lab. In the 1990s, Dr. Stanley Riddell and colleagues performed the first studies of T cell therapy to block life-threatening reactivation of cytomegalovirus after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HCT). This work provided the proof-of-principle that antigen-specific T cells can be used in humans to boost T cell immunity to a virus, and paved the way for studies using T cell therapy to treat cancer. Riddell’s lab developed improved techniques for isolation, expansion, genetic modification and reinfusion of T cells, and for monitoring safety, persistence, migration and function after transfer. Many of these methods are now widely used in the field. Subsequent work has focused on developing techniques to express specific genes that redirect T cell specificity to cancer cells and/or improve their function, on identifying the most effective types of T cells to use for cancer immunotherapy, and on evaluating the safety and efficacy of novel T cell therapies in early phase clinical trials in many types of cancer.

Dr. Riddell’s lab continues to focus on establishing the principles for the safe and effective use of T cell immunotherapy to treat cancer. This effort encompasses fundamental studies of T cell differentiation and signaling, the development of preclinical animal models, clinical translation, and novel applications of synthetic biology to enhance therapeutic T cells. Demonstrations in preclinical models that naïve and specific memory T cell subsets can have superior persistence and efficacy after adoptive transfer informed new methods to rapidly isolate defined cell populations for clinical trials using T cells modified with specific chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) or T cell receptors (TCRs).

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.