Brian Betts, MD, Leads TCT/Medicine Initiatives as Vice Chair
Board-certified in internal medicine, medical oncology and hematology, Dr. Betts joined Roswell Park this summer from the faculty of the University of Minnesota, where he did his internal medicine residency. After earning his medical degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School, he went on to complete a fellowship in medical oncology and hematology at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.
Dr. Betts has done extensive research on ways to prevent and reduce graft versus host disease (GvHD) and other complications of stem cell transplant, and on development of engineered T-cell therapies for cancer. Along with Dr. Davila he helped to develop CD83 CAR therapy, and in collaboration with Dr. Holtan he has helped to improve outcomes for patients following stem cell transplant.
“I chose stem cell transplantation and immunology mainly because I like the science behind it, and also because I can actually do stuff in the lab and bring it to patients and see advances happen in real time,” says Dr. Betts.
Experts in Transplantation, Engineered Cells and Pediatrics Join Growing Roswell Park Cell Therapy Program
Join our Experts at ASH! I'm Brian Betts. I am the uh vice Chair of Strategic Initiatives in Medicine here at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. I'm also a physician scientist at C patients and I run a lab too that focuses on complications of stem cell transplant and also development of engineered white blood cells or car T cells. I went to Eastern Virginia Medical School. After that, I did uh internal medicine residency at University of Minnesota and I hung around for a chief year, which was a lot of fun. And then after that, I did my um fellowship in medical oncology and hematology at Memorials Kings Cancer Center. I chose stem cell transplantation and immunology mainly because I like the science behind it and the fact that I can actually do stuff in the lab and bring it to patients and see it happen in real time. I always like those little eureka moments in the lab. You're like, hey, wow, this is actually gonna help people out the focus of my research um is on, I guess, engineered cell therapy in general and also looking at ways to prevent complications of stem cell transplant. And you can look at that as being both graft versus host disease or gvhd and also relapse. I mean, those are the two main problems that we were dealing with after a stem cell transplant before we kind of looked at them and kind of siloed compartment. But now we're realizing if we're doing something to prevent one, we gotta do something to prevent the other. At the same time, with the kind of more frequent clinical use of this thing called post transplant cyclophosphamide. We're actually giving chemotherapy after the stem cells go in to prevent GVHD. Risk of GHD is super small now, so anything we do now has to have as good or better GVHD D prevention, but also prevent relapse too. Sometimes that can be small molele and you know, inhibitor drugs or nowadays, more like cell therapy. One of the cell therapy products that came out of Doctor Davila and my lab is this thing called CD A three car, which is a car T cell that goes after this protein called CD 83 or 83 on the uh surface of cell targets. And these cell targets are both white blood cells that would cause GHD. But also it's present on acute myeloid leukemia stem cells, which is great because then you can actually eradicate both problems with one single cell. Probably the most exciting thing in the field right now is the more general investigation of car T there's now uh a focus on using car T cells and and solid organ tumors. For one. Doctor Breen has an armored car. So a car T cell that's armored by carrying its own cytokine, which is gonna be used in not only B cell mignon but also small cell lung cancer, which is really exciting. We also have car t coming from uh my lab and Doctor Davila's lab that are looking at ways to go after other solid organ tumors too, uh which is also exciting. So we're kind of leaving this Leukemia lymphoma space to kind of bring this technology to other patients in need. And that's probably the, the thing we're gonna be seeing over the next 5 to 10 years, a more general application of car T outside of the liquid tumor space. And that should be getting people really excited. And it also kind of helps support this concept of Roswell Park being a destination for cell therapy because all the stuff that's happening in the lab is gonna come out to help patients too, but we're not just doing this to treat mice. We're gonna wanna bring out our, our, our expertise and innovation to actually help patients. The reason why I came to Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center was mainly to be part of the uh expertise and innovation happened in uh car T cells and also transplant in general here too. When you're looking at the new cell therapies are coming out of all of our labs here. It's, it's it's unique. It's just here at Roswell Park. And by being in that environment, there's a lot of, you know, bouncing ideas off each other. I mean, all of our offices are like lined up, we all share the same walls essentially. And if I have an idea or Doctor Davila has an idea or Doctor Troy has an idea, we can just walk right out and start talking to each other. So, collaboration happens in real time, which is pretty exciting. We have an idea for a grant. We're gonna start thinking about it right away and also gives us a chance to kind of think about ways to better involve referring oncologist. So we can, you know, you know, not just, you know, offering clinical trials in those things, but also involving referring oncologists with patient care in general, which I I think is really important to kind of involve the community in the research, but also the the the clinical practice as well.