Barnes-Jewish Hospital | Washington University Physicians

HISTORY

milestones from the archives.

MAKING MEDICINE

BY CONNIE MITCHELL

Some call it the “therapeutic pipeline.” Others refer to it as “bench to bedside.” Both phrases refer to the scientific process that delivers new therapies, new medicines, to people who are sick. In the pipeline metaphor, an idea rushes along, like water in a hose, from the minds of researchers into the lab, through testing and approvals to the pharmacy or treatment room. In the bench metaphor, progress is similarly linear, advancing from the scientist’s bench in the lab to the patient’s bedside. But neither image paints an accurate picture.

Imagine instead a large Rube Goldberg machine, with cogs and wheels and diversionary paths. Research isn’t a straight-line prospect.

ECAR-T IMMUNOTHERAPY
ILLUSTRATION OF CAR-T IMMUNOTHERAPY AT WORK. Photo courtesy of Science Photo

Washington University oncologist John DiPersio, MD, PhD, a nationally known expert in the treatment of leukemia and lymphoma, serves as deputy director of Siteman Cancer Center and director of the Washington University Center for Gene & Cellular Immunotherapy (CGCI). With more than three decades of experience as a physician-scientist, DiPersio has played an instrumental role in developing new therapies to treat blood cancers. Yet DiPersio, reflecting on his professional journey, notes that the work is never done. “It’s a constant iterative process of bench to bedside and back to bench again,” he says. His work with CAR-T immunotherapy is a clear example of what he’s talking about.

CAR-T immunotherapy isolates a person’s T cells—cells the immune system uses to find and destroy harmful invaders—and modifies them to home in on cancerous cells. Once modified, these cells are known as CAR-T cells: chimeric antigen receptor T cells. After modification, the CAR-T cells are returned to the body, where they find their malignant targets and, behaving as any T cell should, trigger a chain of reactions that destroys the targeted cell.

READ MORE

PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE OF FERTILITY CARE

PAST, PRESENT AND FUTURE OF FERTILITY CARE

BY ANDRREA MONGLER

The first baby conceived by in vitro fertilization, or IVF, was born in 1978 in Manchester, England. In 1985, a couple from Creve Coeur gave birth to Missouri’s first baby conceived by IVF at what was then called Jewish Hospital. The technology was controversial in its early days. The idea of “creating” a baby in a lab felt strange to some and raised ethical concerns in others.

Read More
SITEMAN CANCER CENTER AT 20: A RETROSPECTIVE

SITEMAN CANCER CENTER AT 20: A RETROSPECTIVE

BY PAM MCGRATH
IMAGES COURTESY OF WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE AND SITEMAN CANCER CENTER

When Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine established the Alvin J. Siteman Cancer Center in 1999, the partnering institutions already shared a decades-long history of advancing cancer research and treatment.

Read More

What is Trending: