Carol A. Kruse, PhD, a University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) scientist and recognized leader in immunologic therapy for brain cancer, recently passed away in Los Angeles after a 6-month battle with an aggressive form of cancer. She was 61.
Dr. Kruse was a UCLA Professor of Neurosurgery and Member of UCLA’s Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center, where she was pioneering effective immunotherapies for brain cancer patients. At the time of her passing, she was working on better understanding the immune-resistance mechanisms used by tumor cells to facilitate the development of alternative therapies for treating patients with primary malignant brain tumors.
Dr. Kruse is best known for having conceived of allogeneic cytotoxic T lymphocytes (or AlloCTL), which target brain tumors by their expression of the HLA class I of human leukocyte antigens. Through research grants and private funding, she initiated two separate clinical trials to treat primary brain tumor patients with AlloCTL.
Over the course of her career, Dr. Kruse served in National Institutes of Health study sections and committees and sat on the editorial boards of many prestigious research journals. She also was invited to speak as a guest lecturer at multiple institutions, including UCLA.
Dr. Kruse supported basic research for over 25 years. She mentored dozens of graduate and postdoctoral students and research assistants and is responsible for training many individuals who went on to become leaders in their field.
Dr. Kruse received both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Colorado State University and earned her PhD at UCLA. After a fellowship at Caltech, she joined the faculty of the University of Colorado Medical School, where she established a new program on brain tumor research. Subsequently, she moved to San Diego and then joined the faculty at UCLA.
She is survived by her husband, Laz Gerschenson, MD; her three children, Jeffrey, Gregory, and Mariana; and her granddaughter, Juliana. ■