Newswise — New York (August 31, 2017) – Scientific innovator and physician Dr. Pawel Muranski has joined NewYork-Presbyterian and Columbia University Medical Center (CUMC) as director of cellular immunotherapy at the newly established Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) cell production lab and assistant director of Transfusion Medicine and Cellular Therapy. He will also serve on the faculty of CUMC as Assistant Professor of Medicine, Pathology and Cell Biology, a principal investigator at Columbia Center for Translational Immunology (CCTI) and a member of Columbia’s Herbert Irving Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“We’re thrilled to have Dr. Muranski joining us to continue his innovative work,” said Dr. Gary Schwartz, chief of the Division of Hematology/Oncology at NewYork-Presbyterian/CUMC and the Clyde ’56 and Helen Wu Professor of Oncology (in medicine) at CUMC. “His approach to T cell-based therapy holds so much potential and could revolutionize care for cancer patients, transplant patients and others.”
Dr. Muranski is a hematologist who specializes in bone marrow transplantation and in developing adoptive T cell therapies, in which white blood cells called T lymphocytes are removed from a patient or a donor and then programmed to target viral infections, leukemic cells and solid tumors. Adoptive transfer of T cells, including Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)-T therapy has shown great promise in early trials of patients with leukemia, lymphoma and several solid cancers—in some cases leading to a complete remission.
Dr. Muranski’s research will continue to focus on exploiting and enhancing the capability of engineered T cells to recognize and target cancerous cells or dangerous viruses. He has a particular interest in developing CD4+ T helper cells—the master orchestrators of immune response—as a potentially powerful weapon against cancer. His T cells can also target viral infections in patients whose immune systems have been weakened by bone marrow or organ transplantation, cancer treatment, or autoimmune diseases.
“Despite recent spectacular advances in the field of cancer immunotherapy, very few institutions have GMP laboratories with the capacity to grow and manipulate T cells,” said Dr. Muranski. “NewYork-Presbyterian and Columbia University Medical Center are now positioned to become leaders in cutting-edge cellular immunotherapies. I’m excited to work with the team here on developing a comprehensive program that brings these innovative treatments to our patients.”
In addition to his work in the GMP lab, Dr. Muranski will be working with Dr. Prakash Satwani, a pediatric hematologist and oncologist at NewYork-Presbyterian and associate professor of pediatrics at CUMC, on an upcoming major CAR-T cell initiative. He will also work closely with Dr. Markus Mapara, director of the Adult Blood and Marrow Transplantation Program at NewYork-Presbyterian/Columbia and professor of medicine at CUMC.
Dr. Muranski trained as a fellow at the Surgery Branch, National Cancer Institute (NCI), National Institutes of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland, where he performed innovative studies aimed at understanding of the role of CD4+ T cells as mediators of curative anti-tumor immunity. Most recently, he served in Hematology Branch, National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) at the NIH, where his research focused on using T cell-based therapies to prevent viral infections in patients undergoing donor-based stem cell transplantation for blood cancers.
He earned his medical degree from the Medical University of Warsaw in Poland before completing a research fellowship at the Institute for Molecular Medicine and Genetics, Medical College of Georgia and a residency at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, Illinois. He completed a clinical fellowship in hematology and oncology at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.
NewYork-Presbyterian is one of the nation’s most comprehensive, integrated academic healthcare delivery systems, whose organizations are dedicated to providing the highest quality, most compassionate care and service to patients in the New York metropolitan area, nationally, and throughout the globe. In collaboration with two renowned medical schools, Weill Cornell Medicine and Columbia University Medical Center, NewYork-Presbyterian is consistently recognized as a leader in medical education, groundbreaking research and innovative, patient-centered clinical care.
NewYork-Presbyterian has four major divisions:
- NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital is ranked #1 in the New York metropolitan area by U.S. News and World Report and repeatedly named to the Honor Roll of “America’s Best Hospitals.”
- NewYork-Presbyterian Regional Hospital Network comprises hospitals and other facilities in the New York metropolitan region.
- NewYork-Presbyterian Physician Services, which connects medical experts with patients in their communities.
- NewYork-Presbyterian Community and Population Health, encompassing ambulatory care network sites and community healthcare initiatives, including NewYork Quality Care, the Accountable Care Organization jointly established by NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Weill Cornell Medicine and Columbia.
Columbia University Medical Center
Columbia University Medical Center provides international leadership in basic, preclinical, and clinical research; medical and health sciences education; and patient care. The medical center trains future leaders and includes the dedicated work of many physicians, scientists, public health professionals, dentists, and nurses at the College of Physicians and Surgeons, the Mailman School of Public Health, the College of Dental Medicine, the School of Nursing, the biomedical departments of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, and allied research centers and institutions. Columbia University Medical Center is home to the largest medical research enterprise in New York City and State and one of the largest faculty medical practices in the Northeast. The campus that Columbia University Medical Center shares with its hospital partner, NewYork-Presbyterian, is now called the Columbia University Irving Medical Center. For more information, visit cumc.columbia.edu or columbiadoctors.org.