Angelos donated $1 million toward the Fannie Angelos Cellular Therapeutics Lab. His sister died in 2015 at age 88 from myelodysplastic syndrome, a bone cancer.
The lab will focus on immunotherapy, a treatment in which a patient’s own immune cells, or T cells, are genetically engineered to recognize and attack a cancer.
Scientists there also will develop cell-based therapies and cancer vaccines to stimulate the immune system to kill other kinds of cancer cells and study ways to engineer cells for other illnesses, including diabetes and heart disease.
“This new laboratory has the potential to yield groundbreaking findings, not only for scientists studying cancer but for many other disciplines as well,” said Dr. E. Albert Reece, dean of the medical school, in a statement.
The lab, part of the Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer Center, will allow scientists to work in-house. In the past, they have relied on outside facilities and other academic institutions for genetically modified cells to treat patients in clinical trials.
“Having our own cell-processing laboratory will increase our ability to offer novel and promising cell-based therapies to our patients,” said Dr. Aaron P. Rapoport, the lab’s director and professor of medicine at the medical school, in a statement. “It will also help our investigators move their basic and preclinical research into the clinic more quickly so that patients may benefit from our discoveries.”
Researchers at three University of Maryland campuses — the University of Maryland, Baltimore; University of Maryland, College Park; and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County — will have access to the laboratory.