Dr. Carmen B. Lozzio MD, FACMG has a distinguished 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 and 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. Dr. Lozzio is currently a clinical geneticist at Clinical Genetics and Cytogenetic Services.
Dr. Lozzio began working with the K-562 cell line in her laboratory at UT Memorial Research Center in December 1970. The cells were originally isolated from a leukemia patient and were cultured in Dr. Lozzio’s laboratory for a number of years. Most of the research she conducted on the K-562 cell line was to gain a better understanding of the cell’s properties. Her first published paper on the K-562 cell line was in the journal Blood in 1975. Since then, Dr. Lozzio has published extensively on the K-562 cell line and has shared cells with researchers from around the world. The cells, compared to other leukemia cell lines, stand out for their longevity and this attribute has allowed them to be extensively researched for their multi-potential properties, particularly those that target the delivery of cancer drugs.
“It has been a privilege for UTRF to work with Dr. Lozzio, a pioneer in genetics research. Her extensive research on the K-562 cell lines is now enabling the development of new cancer treatments”Maha Krishnamurthy, UTRF Assistant Vice President of Licensing
Although no frozen samples of the original cells exist, many sublines were derived from the original K-562 cell line and continue to be used by researchers who want to use the cells to develop cancer treatments. In 2016, the University of Tennessee Research Foundation entered into a licensing agreement with CytoSen Therapeutics Inc., for commercial rights to use the K-562 cell lines to produce an innovative natural killer cell therapy that harnesses the power of a person’s own immune cells to help fight cancer.
Unlike other cell therapies, this approach has the potential to be used as a treatment component for many types of cancer. Clinical trials are set to begin later in 2017. Now retired after 50 years of employment at UT, Dr. Lozzio remains involved with both the Medical Center and Graduate School of Medicine. She credits the collaborative atmosphere and talented faculty and staff at the University and at Oak Ridge National Laboratory with making her research contributions possible.