heart attack own tissue to grow stem
cells that were injected back into the
heart in order to attempt to heal injured muscle.
Scientists at CHLA, too, are breaking ground by
using tissue engineering techniques combined
with stem cells to build models of new intestines.
LA scientists and physicians are revolution-
ARIE BELLDEGRUN, M.D., F.A.C.S.
CHAIRMAIN, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF KITE PHARMA, UCLA PROFESSOR
In addition to authoring more than 500 and medical papers,
teaching at UCLA and developing groundbreaking cancer research, Arie
Belldegrun starts biotechnology companies. The latest, Kite Pharma, is a
fast-growing player in genetically engineered cancer therapies.
How has biotechnology changed in LA?
Starting 20 years ago, LA was producing the best doctors,
scientists and clinicians, but there was no biotechnology in town. Beginning in 1996, I started three biotech companies in Los Angeles: Agensys [purchased by
Astellas Pharma in 2007], Cougar Biotechnology [purchased by Johnson Johnson in 2009] and
in 2009, Kite Pharma, which has become a world leader in genetically engineered cell cancer
What is the most promising technology coming out of Los Angeles?
We have developed a cancer therapy called KTE-C19 that teaches the immune system
to destroy his own personal cancer. The genetically engineered therapy acts almost like a GPS,
directing the immune system to track and kill cancer cells while sparing normal cells.
When will these products be commercially available?
Our initial were so promising we received designation from the
Food and Drug Administration. If all goes well, I expect KTE-C19 to be on the market in early 2017.
116 a a
izing advanced cancer treatment with personalized drug therapies that train the immune
system to attack cancer cells.
other hubs of medical innovation,
such as Boston or New York, which may be
more competitive and tend to work in silos, LA
encourages an open exchange of
that makes a huge difference in terms of medical
says Ribas, whose laboratory
has collaborated with investigators from the
California Institute of Technology, City of Hope,
USC and other institutions to pioneer these
While diversity and research efforts
often take center stage, the biotech industry is
also stepping into the spotlight in the form of
by research new pharmaceutical companies.
Since 1996, UCLA David Geffen School of
Medicine professor (and director of the
Institute of Urologic Oncology) Arie Belldegrun,
M.D., has founded three of these companies.
The latest, Kite Pharma, is an up-and-coming
goldmine valued at $2.1 billion. Belldegrun
predicts it will employ more than 1,000 workers
over the next few years (about 200 are currently
of skillful employees are relocating because they believe in this he
says. Indeed, platform is the hottest topic
in cancer today: genetically engineered cancer
therapy. Perhaps no coincidence, then, that
Kite is surrounded on all sides by movie studios.
Turns out, LA is not only where movie magic
happens, but also magic in medicine.
WA LT I A A A A
Clockwise from top
left: Dog therapy at
Los Angeles; The
Care Tower at CedarsSinai Medical Center;
Marion and John E.