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Thomas Kipps

Professor, Medicine, UC San Diego

Thomas Kipps, MD, PhD, is Professor of Medicine, Evelyn and Edwin Tasch Chair in Cancer Research, and Deputy Director of Research Operations at the UC San Diego Moores Cancer Center. He received his Ph.D. in Immunology and M.D. from Harvard University and had his residency and fellowship training in Internal Medicine, Hematology, and Genetics at Stanford University.

He has an international reputation for his work in cancer research, immunology and gene therapy. His laboratory research focuses on the immunobiology and genetics of human B-cell malignancies, with emphasis on chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL). Dr. Kipps’ team collects serial samples from patients with CLL to support the investigation of the genetic and biologic features associated with tumor progression, therapeutic response or resistance to therapy. Discovery of features that distinguish CLL from their normal cell counterparts has helped identify new targets for therapy and/or define surrogate markers associated with more rapid rates of cancer progression or resistance to standard therapy. 

These studies are integrated with a clinical investigative program, comprised of both investigator-initiated and commercially sponsored clinical studies, that attracts CLL patients seeking improved treatment strategies. Dr. Kipps’ team has identified molecular markers that can segregate patients into subgroups with different risks for disease-progression, or different probabilities of response to conventional treatment. This enables testing of the safety and relative efficacy of novel agents developed for treatment of all patients with CLL, or subgroups of patients hypothesized to have the best potential response to new therapies. Because CLL cells can be harvested from the blood, it is possible to study primary tumor cells obtained from patients during therapy. This allows testing of whether novel targeted therapies are hitting their intended target, and whether this is associated with a clinical response to therapy.