Department of Pediatrics
Section of Hematology-Oncology,
Baylor College of Medicine
Dr. Meenakshi Hegde
Texas Children’s Cancer Center
1102 Bates Street, Suite 1570
Houston, TX 77030
Dr. Meenakshi Hegde is a pediatric oncologist engaged in translational research on immunotherapy to improve patient outcomes in high-risk cancer. Her research was the first to demonstrate that a highly heterogeneous landscape of antigen expression in glioblastoma and other solid tumors benefitted from simultaneous targeting of these antigens using a novel bispecific CAR T-cell (TanCAR).
Her current efforts focus on the tumor complex, rather than the tumor cell, to develop effective T-cell based platform resistant to the inhibitory pathways within the tumor environment and translation of newly developed cellular therapies from the laboratory to clinic through well-designed clinical trials to shape standard of care practices in the field of high-risk cancer therapy.
Her clinical interests span adoptive cellular therapy and bone marrow transplant.
MD, JSS Medical College, Mysore, India, 2004
Residency, Pediatrics, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2009
Fellowship, Pediatric Hematology-Oncology, Baylor College of Medicine, 2012
Internship, Pediatrics, Bangalore Medical College, India, 2005
American Board of Pediatrics
American Board of Pediatrics – Pediatric Hematology-Oncology
American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP)
American Association for Cancer Research (AACR)
American Society of Bone Marrow Transplant (ASBMT)
American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)
Children’s Oncology Group (COG)
Karnataka Medical Council, India
Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC)
Solid tumors enable immune evasion by expressing high-levels of immune-inhibitory ligands that attenuate anti-tumor responses by inducing functional exhaustion and apoptotic death of the activated tumor-antigen specific T cells. Programmed death ligand-1 (PD-L1; B7-H1)/ programmed death protein-1 (PD-1; CD279) immune-checkpoint is a key mediator of this tumor-derived immune-inhibition.
Using a glioma model, we are currently investigating how PD-L1/PD-1 axis can be best manipulated to enhance the anti-tumor efficacy of adoptively transferred chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells.
Our approach will create a broad T-cell engineering platform to modulate tumor derived immune-inhibitory signals for improved cellular therapy of solid tumors.
Awards and Honors
Schwiesguth Prize by the International Society of Paediatric Oncology (SIOP)
Young Investigator Award by the American Society of Pediatric Hematology-Oncology (ASPHO)
News about Dr. Hegde
Hegde M, Mukherjee M, Grada Z, Pignata A, Landi D, Navai SA, Wakefield A, Fousek K, Bielamowicz K, Chow KK, Brawley VS, Byrd TT, Krebs S, Gottschalk S, Wels WS, Baker ML, Dotti G, Mamonkin M, Brenner MK, Orange JS, Ahmed N. Tandem CAR T cells targeting HER2 and IL13Rα2 mitigate tumor antigen escape. J Clin Invest. 2016 Aug 1;126(8):3036-52. PMID: 27427982
Ahmed N, Brawley VS, Hegde M, Robertson C, Ghazi A, Gerken C, Liu E, Dakhova O, Ashoori A, Corder A, Gray T, Wu MF, Liu H, Hicks J, Rainusso N, Dotti G, Mei Z, Grilley B, Gee A, Rooney CM, Brenner MK, Heslop HE, Wels WS, Wang LL, Anderson P, Gottschalk S. Human Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor 2 (HER2) –Specific Chimeric Antigen Receptor-Modified T Cells for the Immunotherapy of HER2-Positive Sarcoma. J Clin Oncol. 2015 May 20;33(15):1688-96. PMID: 25800760
Krebs S, Chow KK, Yi Z, Rodriguez-Cruz T, Hegde M, Gerken C, Ahmed N, Gottschalk S. T cells redirected to interleukin-13Rα2 with interleukin-13 mutein–chimeric antigen receptors have anti-glioma activity but also recognize interleukin-13Rα1. Cytotherapy. 2014 Aug;16(8):1121-31. PMID: 24841514.
Hegde M, Corder A, Chow KK, Mukherjee M, Ashoori A, Kew Y, Zhang YJ, Baskin DS, Merchant FA, Brawley VS, Byrd TT, Krebs S, Wu MF, Liu H, Heslop HE, Gottschalk S, Yvon E, Ahmed N. Combinational targeting offsets antigen escape and enhances effector functions of adoptively transferred T cells in glioblastoma. Mol Ther. 2013 Nov;21(11):2087-101. PMID: 23939024.
Grada Z, Hegde M, Byrd T, Shaffer DR, Ghazi A, Brawley VS, Corder A, Schönfeld K, Koch J, Dotti G, Heslop HE, Gottschalk S, Wels WS, Baker ML, Ahmed N. TanCAR: A Novel Bispecific Chimeric Antigen Receptor for Cancer Immunotherapy. Mol Ther Nucleic Acids. 2013 Jul 9;2:e105. PMID: 23839099.