Dr Frederick Chen

Fred Chen.Cancer Research Birmingham Univesity Head shots day 2.

Fred Chen is a consultant haematologist with a strong interest in Stem Cell Transplantation (SCT). Fred is closely involved in clinical trials of adoptive transfer approaches involving viral-specific CD8+ T cells after SCT, to prevent acute cytomegalovirus infection.

Consultant Haematologist based at Queen Elizabeth Hospital Birmingham. Honorary Senior Lecturer, School of Cancer Sciences, Birmingham.

Head, Adoptive Cell Therapy Programme, NHSBT, Birmingham.

Email: frederick.chen@nhsbt.nhs.uk; Frederick.Chen@uhb.nhs.uk; f.e.chen@bham.ac.uk

LinkedIn profile

Background and Research focus

As a clinical haematologist, Fred has built a research programme focussing on developing cell therapy approaches to optimize haematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT). HSCT can cure many patients with haematological malignancies, but major complications include risk of mortality from disease relapse, infections, and graft-versus-host disease. Fred’s research focuses on developing adoptive T cell therapy (ACT) to treat such patients, and he is involved in clinical trials of antigen-specific adoptive transfer strategies for viral infections including cytomegalovirus (e.g. the phase II trial CMV-ACE/ASPECT and the phase III trial CMV-IMPACT).  Fred is also closely involved in immune monitoring for patients on these trials, and set up a centralized immune diagnostic facility based at Birmingham NHSBT for immune monitoring from 11 trial sites. Preclinical work is also focussing on ACT for EBV-associated malignancies, namely post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD).  As PTLD expresses EBV-derived antigens, therapeutic strategies include ACT using EBV-specific T cells derived from healthy EBV+ donors, or alternatively using T cells transduced with EBV-specific T cell receptors (TCRs). Dr Chen hopes to translate this work, supported by NHSBT Programme funding, into a national phase II trial of EBV ACT for PTLD. Finally, Fred and his team are investigating developing clinical protocols that use cord blood as a source of T cells with high replicative capacity for TCR-gene transfer-based ACT strategies.  Dr Chen’s research is highly collaborative, interfacing between University of Birmingham-based immunology groups (e.g. Professor Paul Moss, Dr Steve Lee, Dr Gavin Bendle) and stem cell services based at Birmingham NHSBT.


haematological malignancies; stem cell transplantation; post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder; clinical trials; early phase clinical trial development; immune monitoring; cytomegalovirus; CMV, Epstein-Barr virus; immunotherapy strategies; JACIE accreditation.fibroblast; rheumatoid arthritis.

Other activities

Having trained in Haematology at the Hammersmith and Guy’s and St Thomas’ hospitals and King’s College, Fred has a broad interest in haematology and immunotherapy, but a particular interest in cellular immunotherapies. Following his appointment in Birmingham, he was made JACIE Medical Director of NHSBT Stem Cells and Immunotherapies, Birmingham, and also acts as regional clinical lead for stem cell services, leading the translation of novel cell therapies from bench experimentation to clinical translation. In addition to leading his own research group, Fred sits on the CIIC Advisory Board, and also the NIHR Stem Cell Strategy Group.


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 Feb;164(3):366-75.

Schupp M, Chen F, Briggs ER, Rao S, Pelzmann HJ, Pessentheiner AR, Bogner-Strauss JG, Lazar MA, Baldwin D, Prokesch A. Metabolite and transcriptome  analysis during fasting suggest a role for the p53-Ddit4 axis in major metabolic  tissues. BMC Genomics. 2013 Nov 5;14:758.

Frumento G, Zheng Y, Aubert G, Raeiszadeh M, Lansdorp PM, Moss P, Lee SP, Chen FE. Cord blood T cells retain early differentiation phenotype suitable for immunotherapy after TCR gene transfer to confer EBV specificity. Am J Transplant. 2013 Jan;13(1):45-55.

Zhao N, Ferrer JL, Moon HS, Kapteyn J, Zhuang X, Hasebe M, Stewart CN Jr, Gang DR, Chen F. A SABATH Methyltransferase from the moss Physcomitrella patens catalyzes S-methylation of thiols and has a role in detoxification. Phytochemistry. 2012 Sep;81:31-41.