Cancer immunotherapy expert Crystal Mackall, MD, joined the Stanford University School of Medicine faculty on January 1 as Professor of Pediatrics and Medicine, as well as Associate Director of the Stanford Cancer Institute and Co-Medical Director of the Stanford Laboratory for Cell and Gene Medicine. As part of her role in the Department of Pediatrics, Dr. Mackall is being appointed Program Leader in Pediatric Cancer Immunotherapy.
Dr. Mackall, who previously headed the Immunology Section at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and served as Chief of the Institute’s Pediatric Oncology Branch, will lead Stanford’s efforts to advance clinical trials of immune therapies for cancer, with the ultimate goal of moving them to widespread clinical use.
Area of Expertise
Dr. Mackall is an expert in the field of T-cell homeostasis. In addition to her fundamental discoveries in the field of human T-cell homeostasis, Dr. Mackall’s scientific achievements include conducting the first studies in humans of recombinant interleukin-7, a cytokine that can be used in cancer treatment. Her group was one of the first to demonstrate the success of a cancer therapy for pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia, which works by modifying the patient’s own immune cells. The cells are removed from the patient, engineered to express cancer-specific receptors, and returned to the patient, where they attack the cancer.
Dr. Mackall also serves as Co-Leader of Stand Up 2 Cancer’s Pediatric Cancer Dream Team, a multi-institutional program focused on developing novel immunotherapies for childhood cancer. She holds patents or has patents pending for nine advances in cancer immune therapy.
“We have entered the golden age of immunotherapy for cancer,” Dr. Mackall said. “I think Stanford’s depth of scientific excellence and innovation will play a fundamental role in advancing this field. I’m excited to have the chance to develop a vibrant translational research program focused on cellular therapy for cancer, building upon all of the university’s existing strengths.”
Dr. Mackall has worked at the NCI since 1989. After earning a medical degree from the Northeastern Ohio Universities Colleges of Medicine and Pharmacy, and completing a residency in pediatrics and internal medicine at Children’s Hospital Medical Center of Akron/Akron General Medical Center, she moved to the NCI for a fellowship in pediatric hematology/oncology. She advanced through the ranks of NCI investigators, earning the title of Tenured Principal Investigator in 2003 and becoming Chief of the Pediatric Oncology Branch in 2008. ■