James N. Kochenderfer, M.D.

Senior Investigator

Surgery Branch


Building 10 - CRC - Room 3-3888
Bethesda, MD 20892



Research Topics

Dr. Kochenderfer develops T-cell therapies for blood cancers including lymphoma, leukemia, and multiple myeloma. T cells normally play a critical role in fighting infections and cancers. Patients who have cancer have T cells that are no longer fighting their cancer. With gene therapy, their T cells can be modified to attack a cancer target and exert a powerful and specifically-targeted anti- cancer effect. Dr. Kochenderfer leads a lab that genetically engineers T cells with genes encoding chimeric antigen receptors (CAR) that target malignancy-associated antigens. He previously designed and constructed a novel anti-CD19 CAR T cell that was first to demonstrate antigen-specific activity of anti-CD19 CAR T cells in humans. This work in anti-CD19 CAR T cells led to the first Food and Drug Administration-approved CAR T-cell therapy for lymphoma. Dr. Kochenderfer also designed the first chimeric antigen receptor targeting B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA). He then led the first clinical trial of T cells expressing an anti-BCMA CAR as a treatment for multiple myeloma. He currently has open trials investigating novel CAR T cell therapies in Multiple Myeloma and Lymphoma and is developing new methods to improve the cancer fighting ability of CAR T cells.


Dr. Kochenderfer is a clinician and translational researcher in the Surgery Branch of the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Dr. Kochenderfer conducts research aimed at developing new T-cell therapies for lymphoma and leukemia. His clinical expertise lies in the areas of hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and hematologic malignancies. Dr. Kochenderfer received his M.D. from West Virginia University in 1995, and he completed clinical training in internal medicine at Vanderbilt University. He completed oncology and hematology fellowships at the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and at Baylor College of Medicine. He completed further training in tumor immunology and stem cell transplantation as a clincial fellow at the NCI. He was an Assistant Clinical Investigator at NCI prior to becoming a tenure-track investigator in 2013. He received tenure from NIH in 2020. He received an American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy Outstanding New Investigator Award (2017) and the FNIH Trailblazer Clinican Award (2019). In 2020, his work on "Development of CAR T-Cell Therapy for Myeloma” was selected as a 2020 Top 10 Clinical Research Achievement Awards by the Clinical Research Forum.

Selected Publications

  1. Kochenderfer JN, Somerville RPT, Lu T, Shi V, Bot A, Rossi J, Xue A, Goff SL, Yang JC, Sherry RM, Klebanoff CA, Kammula US, Sherman M, Perez A, Yuan CM, Feldman T, Friedberg JW, Roschewski MJ, Feldman SA, McIntyre L, Toomey MA, Rosenberg SA. Lymphoma Remissions Caused by Anti-CD19 Chimeric Antigen Receptor T Cells Are Associated With High Serum Interleukin-15 Levels. J Clin Oncol. 2017;35(16):1803-1813.
  2. Ali SA, Shi V, Maric I, Wang M, Stroncek DF, Rose JJ, Brudno JN, Stetler-Stevenson M, Feldman SA, Hansen BG, Fellowes VS, Hakim FT, Gress RE, Kochenderfer JN. T cells expressing an anti-B-cell maturation antigen chimeric antigen receptor cause remissions of multiple myeloma. Blood. 2016;128(13):1688-700.
  3. Carpenter RO, Evbuomwan MO, Pittaluga S, Rose JJ, Raffeld M, Yang S, Gress RE, Hakim FT, Kochenderfer JN. B-cell maturation antigen is a promising target for adoptive T-cell therapy of multiple myeloma. Clin Cancer Res. 2013;19(8):2048-60.
  4. Kochenderfer JN, Dudley ME, Feldman SA, Wilson WH, Spaner DE, Maric I, Stetler-Stevenson M, Phan GQ, Hughes MS, Sherry RM, Yang JC, Kammula US, Devillier L, Carpenter R, Nathan DA, Morgan RA, Laurencot C, Rosenberg SA. B-cell depletion and remissions of malignancy along with cytokine-associated toxicity in a clinical trial of anti-CD19 chimeric-antigen-receptor-transduced T cells. Blood. 2012;119(12):2709-20.
  5. Kochenderfer JN, Wilson WH, Janik JE, Dudley ME, Stetler-Stevenson M, Feldman SA, Maric I, Raffeld M, Nathan DA, Lanier BJ, Morgan RA, Rosenberg SA. Eradication of B-lineage cells and regression of lymphoma in a patient treated with autologous T cells genetically engineered to recognize CD19. Blood. 2010;116(20):4099-102.

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This page was last updated on Friday, September 15, 2023