Professor Emma Morris
Professor of Clinical Cell and Gene Therapy
Research in the Morris and Stauss lab focusses on cell and gene therapy, T cell immunology and allogenic stem cell transplantation for haematological malignancies and primary immune deficiencies.
My research group is interested in altering both the specificity and the function of gene-modified immune cells. These immune cells can then be used to treat cancer, infection or immune system disorders.
My research team investigates basic cellular and molecular mechanisms that influence how immune cells behave and how they recognise that cancer cells are different to normal cells, or why, in some cases, this does not occur. We are exploring ways to alter the genetic programming of these cells to improve their function and enhance their ability to kill cancer cells.
We also run a number of phase I ('first in human') clinical trials exploring the safety of these treatments in adult patients, where other treatments may have failed. These new approaches to cell therapy can be used in isolation or together with a stem cell (bone marrow) transplant procedure. We are particularly interested in TCR gene-modified T cells and genetically engineered stem cells.
I trained in Clinical Medicine at the University of Cambridge before specialising in Haemato-oncology and allogeneic bone marrow transplantation. I am currently a Transplant Consultant at University College London Hospital NHS FT and the Royal Free London NHS FT. In receive research funding from the Bloodwise, MRC, CRUK Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre and the Wellcome Trust.
I am director of the NIHR UCLH/UCL Biomedical Research Centre Inflammation, Immunity and Immunotherapeutics research programme and Co-Chair of the UCL Cell, Gene and Regenerative Medicine Therapeutic Innovation Network.
- Morris EC. Editing gene engineering to enhance function. Blood. 2018;131:272-273
- Khan AB, Carpenter B, Sousa PSE, Pospori C, Khorshed R, Griffin J, Veliça P, Zech M, Ghorashian S, Forrest C, Thomas S, Anton SG, Ahmadi M, Holler A, Flutter B, Ramirez-Ortiz Z, Means TK, Bennett CL, Stauss H, Morris E, Celso CL, Chakraverty R. Redirection to the bone marrow improves T cell persistence and antitumor functions. J Clin Invest. 2018;pii: 97454 [Epub ahead of print]
- Fox TA, Chakraverty R, Burns S, Carpenter B, Thomson K, Lowe D, Fielding A, Peggs K, Kottaridis P, Uttenthal B, Bigley V, Buckland M, Grandage V, Denovan S, Grace S, Dahlstrom J, Workman S, Symes A, Mackinnon S, Hough R, Morris E. Successful outcome following allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in adults with primary immunodeficiency. Blood. 2018;131:917-931
- Morris EC, Fox T, Chakraverty R, Tendeiro R, Snell K, Rivat C, Grace S, Gilmour K, Workman S, Buckland K, Butler K, Chee R, Salama AD, Ibrahim H, Hara H, Duret C, Mavilio F, Male F, Bushman FD, Galy A, Burns SO, Gaspar HB, Thrasher AJ. Gene therapy for Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome in a severely affected adult. Blood. 2017;130(11):1327-1335
- Chen Y, Xue SA, Behboudi S, Mohammad GH, Pereira SP, Morris EC. Ex Vivo PD-L1/PD-1 Pathway Blockade Reverses Dysfunction of Circulating CEA-Specific T Cells in Pancreatic Cancer Patients. Clin Cancer Res. 2017;23:6178-6189
- Steele CL, Doré M, Ammann S, Loughrey M, Montero A, Burns SO, Morris EC, Gaspar B, Gilmour K, Bibi S, Shendi H, Devlin L, Speckmann C, Edgar DM. X-linked Inhibitor of Apoptosis Complicated by Granulomatous Lymphocytic Interstitial Lung Disease (GLILD) and Granulomatous Hepatitis. J Clin Immunol. 2016;36:733-8
- Morris EC, Stauss HJ. Optimizing T-cell receptor gene therapy for hematologic malignancies. Blood. 2016;127:3305-11
- Reyal Y, Kayani I, Bloor AJC, Fox CP, Chakraverty R, Sjursen AM, Fielding AK, Ben Taylor M, Bishton MJ, Morris EC, Thomson KJ, Russell N, Mackinnon S, Peggs KS. Impact of Pretransplantation (18)F-Fluorodeoxyglucose-Positron Emission Tomography on Survival Outcomes after T Cell-Depleted Allogeneic Transplantation for Hodgkin Lymphoma. Biol Blood Marrow Transplant. 2016;22:1234-1241
- Holler A, Zech M, Ghorashian S, Pike R, Hotblack A, Veliça P, Xue SA, Chakraverty R, Morris EC, Stauss HJ. Expression of a dominant T-cell receptor can reduce toxicity and enhance tumor protection of allogeneic T-cell therapy. Haematologica. 2016;101(4):482-90
- Stauss HJ, Morris EC, Abken H. Cancer gene therapy with T cell receptors and chimeric antigen receptors. Curr Opin Pharmacol. 2015;24:113-8
- Wise MP, Barnes RA, Baudouin SV, Howell D, Lyttelton M, Marks DI, Morris EC, Parry-Jones N; British Committee for Standards in Haematology. Guidelines on the management and admission to intensive care of critically ill adult patients with haematological malignancy in the UK. Br J Haematol. 2015 [Epub ahead of print]
- Uttenthal B, Martinez-Davila I, Ivey A, Craddock C, Chen F, Virchis A, Kottaridis P, Grimwade D, Khwaja A, Stauss H, Morris EC. Wilms' Tumour 1 (WT1) peptide vaccination in patients with acute myeloid leukaemia induces short-lived WT1-specific immune responses. Br J Haematol. 2014;164:366-75
- Gohil SH, Ardeshna KM, Lambert JM, Pule MA, Mohamedbhai S, Virchis A, Morris EC, Linch DC, Thomson KJ, Peggs KS. Autologous stem cell transplantation outcomes in elderly patients with B cell Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma. Br J Haematol. 2015 [Epub ahead of print].