Internationally recognized hematologist John P. Chute, MD, has been selected to direct the Division of Hematology and Cellular Therapy in the Department of Medicine at Cedars-Sinai Cancer. The physician-scientist also will serve as director of the Center for Myelodysplastic Diseases Research and associate director of the Board of Governors Regenerative Medicine Institute in the Department of Biomedical Sciences. Chute assumed his new post Nov. 23.
The selection of Chute, following a national search, reflects the importance of his pioneering research in blood-forming stem cells called hematopoietic stem cells, which can self-renew and generate all cell types found in the blood and immune system. Over the past decade, Chute’s lab has discovered several growth factors produced by the cells that line the walls of blood vessels; they play a critical role in blood-forming stem cell regeneration.
"Dr. Chute is an exceptional addition to our faculty," said Dan Theodorescu, MD, PhD, professor of Surgery and Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and director of Cedars-Sinai Cancer. "His international reputation as a physician-scientist who has made major contributions to stem cell and hematopoietic cell biology will greatly contribute to positioning the newly created Division of Hematology and Cell Therapy as one of the best in the nation, while providing Cedars-Sinai Cancer patients with exciting new options for the treatment of blood malignancies."
In addition to his hematopoietic stem cell research, Chute said he looks forward to expanding Cedars-Sinai’s CAR T-cell research and therapy. He describes the immune-boosting therapeutic as "transformative" for patients with advanced non-Hodgkin lymphoma, childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia and potentially several additional blood cancers.
CAR T-cell therapy is a type of immunotherapy in which patients’ own immune cells, called T cells, are collected from their blood, and then an artificial receptor – chimeric antigen receptor, or CAR – is added to the cells’ surface. The receptor enables the modified cells to specifically eradicate cancer cells. The cells are infused back into a patient’s body intravenously, where they multiply and attack tumor cells.
"CAR T therapy has become an important treatment option for so many patients with advanced cancer who had no options before," Chute said. "That’s what makes CAR T therapy so exciting."
Chute joins Cedars-Sinai from the David Geffen School of Medicine at the UCLA, where he was a professor of Medicine and Radiation Oncology in the Division of Hematology/Oncology and an investigator in the Broad Stem Cell Research Center.
Chute earned his medical degree at Georgetown University. He completed his residency in internal medicine and fellowship in Hematology/Oncology at the National Naval Medical Center. He completed his research training at the National Cancer Institute and the Naval Medical Research Institute.
"I’m excited to join the Cedars-Sinai Cancer faculty because of the opportunity to collaborate with the world-class scientists and top-tier physicians at the cancer center," Chute said. "Cedars-Sinai has always been a leading medical center and is deeply committed to basic and translational research, while also growing the hematology and cellular therapy specialties. I’m eager to play a leading role in that growth."