Dr. Chang obtained a doctorate (Ph.D.) in Microbiology from the University of Iowa, Iowa City. Dr. Chang is a tenured Full Professor in University of Florida College of Medicine from 1997-2020 (retired), and has served as President of Shenzhen Geno-Immune Medical Institute (GIMI), Shenzhen, China since 2016. He has published more than 150 scientific publications and filed more than 30 US patents. Dr. Chang is inventor of the lentiviral vector system, the only system distributed worldwide by the US National Institute of Health, has developed many novel molecular biology and gene therapy tools and participated in individualized medical treatments in multiple clinical trials applying gene and cell based therapeutics.
“Current Gene Therapy - INTRODUCTION - Editor-in-Chief 02 2017”
Dr. Chang obtained a doctorate (Ph.D.) in Microbiology from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, USA. Dr. Chang is a tenured Full Professor in University of Florida College of Medicine, and appointed as President of Shenzhen Geno-immune Medical Institute (GIMI), Shenzhen, China. He has published more than 150 scientific publications and filed more than 30 US/International patents. Dr. Chang develops novel molecular biology and gene therapy tools and participates in individualized medical treatments in multiple clinical trials applying gene and cell based therapeutics. He served as Scientific Consultant in the HIV and cancer task force for United Nations from 2002-2009, and served as Special Government Employee for US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as advisor for Cellular, Tissue and Gene Therapies advisory committee from 2010-2018. He served as a member of International Committee and Viral Vector Committee of the American Society for Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT), and Editor-in-Chief of Current Gene Therapy, and an editorial board member in multiple international journals. Dr. Chang’s research Interests have been on developing lentiviral vectors as gene transfer tools and using innovative approaches to study the development of stem cells and functional immune cells. His research projects have been funded by multiple national and international funds total more than 30 million US dollars. The emphasis of research has been to translate basic science into clinical treatment for genetic diseases, infectious diseases and cancer. Research activities include characterization of cellular and immune modulatory factors that are essential to the development of protective immunity in patients. Innovative immunotherapy approaches are developed for the treatment of infections and cancer. The long-term goal is to translate basic scientific discovery into clinical applications.
At present, there are more than 6,000 known genetic diseases. As far as China is concerned, the total number of people with serious genetic defects is estimated at ~16.8 million, with an annual genetic defect birth rate at ~0.9 million. However, only 1% of the genetic defects have effective therapeutic options, and the cost for such treatment is usually very high and require government compensation and charity support.
The movie "Lorenzo's Oil" tells the story of a lively boy, Lorenzo, who suddenly screamed like mad in his mid-4s, and was hospitalized with extensive examination to finally learn about the rare genetic disease ALD, namely "adrenal leukodystrophy". Like many genetic diseases, ALD is incurable, and childhood ALD normally has life expectancy at about one year. The loving parents invented a specially formulated edible oil, which could delay the progress of the disease, so the child could continue to live. To this date, the oil invented by his parents has helped many families, but the formulation is very expensive and yet still, it is not a cure.
Our institution has the scientific background and technical ability to study and treat many types of genetic defects including ALD. We hope that with the support of Shenzhen government and the generosity of our supporters, Shenzhen Geno-Immune Medical Institute (GIMI) can create more "legends of gene therapy and cure" in the time to come.
The CAR-T immunotherapy technology developed in GIMI remains to be the only fourth generation CAR technology in the world, carrying an unique safety switch that facilitates quick human trials exploring many new CARs in research to channel into translational pipelines. Currently, the CAR-T immune cell therapy projects carried out in GIMI include treatments for hematological cancers (leukemia, myeloma and lymphoma), neuronal and brain tumor (neuroblastoma and glioma), sarcoma, colon cancer, stomach cancer, bladder cancer etc., and continue to explore into treating many other malignancies.
At the same time, preclinical and clinical trial projects for rare diseases with single gene defects are under investigation, which include severe combined immunodeficiencies (X-SCID, ADA-SCID), CGD, Fanconi anemia, hemophilia, thalassemia, and lysosomal storage diseases such as ALD, MLD etc.. GIMI's CAR-T therapy and gene therapy technology platforms have reduced the unit course treatment cost to less than 2% of the cost of the European and American counterparts, with similar or further improved safety and efficacy outcomes. With the technical advances, GIMI scientists are standardizing the production and manufacturing process of lentiviral vector platform and therapeutic cells in accordance with regulatory approvable GMP/GLP and GCP protocols, so that the technologies can be quickly translated into clinical practice for the benefit of patients.
To increase the cooperative effort with hospitals nationally and worldwide, GIMI sponsors academic and clinical training conferences from time to time. Relevant experts are invited to participate and exchange experiences in the latest advanced technologies, and to learn new updates in gene and cell therapy fields, so to improve the service quality and increase the economic impact on patients and the society. GIMI aims to provide the most advanced and effective treatment programs to professionals to benefit patients worldwide.
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