The University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF) was privileged to work with the late distinguished geneticist Dr. Carmen B. Lozzio MD, FACMG, who had an extraordinary career in genetics research, including extensive study of the K-562 cell line. She first joined the University of Tennessee (UT) in 1965 as a Research Associate at the UT Memorial Research Center in Knoxville. Dr. Lozzio served in many positions during her tenure at the University, most recently as Professor in the Department of Medicine, Division of Medical Genetics, at the UT Graduate School of Medicine, and as a clinical geneticist at Clinical Genetics and Cytogenetic Services.

“The most important interest that Dr Lozzio brought to Knoxville, was the interest in using this laboratory technique to assist families with hereditary disorders–the nascent field of human genetics,” said Dr. Karla J. Matteson, an adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee Graduate School of Medicine who worked with Dr. Lozzio for over 30 years. “Before Vanderbilt University or UT Memphis had a genetic specialist or a genetic specialty laboratory, the Knoxville Medical Center had Dr. Lozzio.”

UTRF’s interactions with Dr. Lozzio began in 2016, when it was approached for a license to the K-562 cell lines. Dr. Lozzio began working with the K-562 cell line in her laboratory at UT Memorial Research Center in December 1970. The cells, originally isolated from a leukemia patient, were cultured in Dr. Lozzio’s laboratory for several years. Her first published paper on the K-562 cell line was in the journal Blood in 1975. Since then, Dr. Lozzio published extensively on the K-562 cell line and shared cells with researchers from around the world. The K-562 cells  continue to be extensively researched for their multi-potential properties, including as a treatment component for many types of cancer.

Even upon retiring after 50 years of employment at UT, Dr. Lozzio remained involved with both the Medical Center and Graduate School of Medicine until her passing. In 2016, UTRF began entering into non-exclusive licensing agreements with entities for the rights to use the K-562 cell lines to produce cancer-fighting immunotherapies. Today, these cell lines  from Dr. Lozzio’s work has been non-exclusively licensed to several entities.

“Dr. Lozzio’s outstanding contributions to genetics research have had a significant impact on our organization, at the University of Tennessee, and around the world,” said Krishnamurthy. “Her legacy will live on in the development of future immunotherapies. We will certainly miss working with one of our most innovative and kind researchers, and we’re thankful to have had a small part in advancing her remarkable work.”