Antonio Pérez Martínez

CAR-T cells engineering with NK cell properties

Antonio Perez Martinez
Hospital La Paz

Dr. Antonio Perez-Martinez (1974) holds a degree in Medicine and Surgery from the Faculty of Medicine of Granada (1998). He completed his Pediatrics residency at the Niño Jesús Children’s Hospital in Madrid (1999-2003), graduating a PhD from the Faculty of Medicine at UAM in 2005. He has completed three postdoctoral stays at the Hematopoietic Transplantation and Cellular Therapy Departments of St. Jude Hospital (Memphis, USA) (2007-2008), at the Tübingen Children’s Hospital in Germany (2011), and at the Mason Cancer Center at the University of Minnesota (USA, 2017). He is a Full Professor at the Faculty of Medicine of the Autonomous University of Madrid (2017) and he is the  Director of Pediatrics Department in the same institution since 2019. In 2018, he was designated Head of the Pediatric Hemato-Oncology Service at La Paz University Hospital. In 2023 he joined the Clinical Research Program at the National Cancer Research Center where he leads the new Pediatric Cancer Unit.

In addition to his clinical experience, Dr. Perez-Martinez has a strong background in basic research. He has been trained in all strategic health actions at the Carlos III Institute of Health (Rio Hortega, Miguel Servet I, Research projects, Independent research, BAE) and is recognized as an expert in the treatment of NK cells, hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, and advanced CAR-T therapies. His career is a clear example of a physician-researcher profile. The Clinical Research Unit in Pediatric Oncohematology that he leads since 2013 is accredited by the European consortium Innovative Therapies for Children with Cancer (ITCC). To date, he has published over 170 scientific articles and has supervised eight PhD theses, all in the field of allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation and cellular therapy. Since the beginning of his research career, he has obtained 8 competitive public grants (PI09/02393, PI12/01622, PI15/00973, PMP21/00073, PI18/01301, PS09/02393, PS12/01622, PI22/01226); thanks to his preclinical studies in advanced CAR-T cell therapies, he has obtained two national competitive grants (CAR4SAR and CINK CAR), as well as a project granted under the Fight Kids Cancer program of the European Science Foundation. Recently, the Madrid Community, within its 2022 Biomedicine R&D program, awarded him with a 3-year project for the generation of new CAR-T and STAb-T cell immunotherapies (Next-generation-CAR-T_MAD).

Dr. Perez Martinez actively works with several national reference networks in the field of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology. He is the national coordinator of the Advanced Cellular Therapy Group (GETH-TC_TACAR) within the Spanish Hematopoietic Transplantation Group (GETH) (2020). This appointment highlights the importance of representation in Pediatrics in a context predominantly dominated by adult specialists. He is a member of the Immunotherapy Group of the Spanish Society of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology (SEHOP) and the Advanced Therapy Research Network (RICORS-TERAV-2022). He is member of the American Society for Transplantation and Cellular Therapy (ASTCT) since 2023 and is also an active collaborator of the European initiative RESTORE ( Since 2016, he has collaborated with Peru and Colombia for the development of advanced therapy CART medications for pediatric and adolescent patients in these countries. He has participated in multiple clinical trials, mainly academic, being the promoter in 28 of them, all focused on the field of advanced immunotherapy in pediatric oncology. 

There is active collaboration between Dr. Pérez Martínez’s research group and three pharmaceutical companies for optimizing the CAR-T strategy in the pediatric population (Novartis, Celyad, and MiltenyBiotec) and maintains an agreement with Eusapharma for the development of their advanced therapy project in childhood brain tumors. Dr. Pérez Martínez holds two patents in the field of immunotherapy: Anti-CXCR4 antibody combined with activated and expanded Natural Killer cells for cancer immunotherapy (P3765519A1. United States. 2018); Memory T Cells as adoptive cell Therapy for Viral Infection (EP20382850. Spain. 2020).

He currently has three Research sexennials recognized by the National Commission for the Evaluation of Research Activity (CNEAI). He is a reviewer of numerous scientific journals (BMT, BBMT, etc.) and an editor of Plos One and Frontiers. He is an evaluator of the Carlos III Health Institute in the Río Hortega (2012), BAE (2015), and Health Research Projects (2019-2022) programs.

He has received various national and international awards in the field of pediatric oncology, such as the Social Research Prize from the Caja Madrid Foundation (2005), the international Sanofi My child matters award (2007), the national health sciences award from the Ministry of Defense [(Comandante Fidel Pagés Miravé, (2011)], the best national childhood cancer project award from the Spanish Association Against Cancer (2016), the Best-in-class (BIC) award for the Best CAR-T Reference Unit (2020). In 2021, one of his articles received the award from the GETH and SEHOP scientific societies for the best scientific publication. Recently, Dr. Pérez Martínez has received the APSATUR-Girasoles para Izarbe Scholarship for the Memory-like NK cells: a new therapy for Ewing sarcoma (MEMO4EWING-2022) project and received the FLT 2022 award (Leukemia and Lymphoma Foundation). Lately, part of his team has made very significant advances in cellular therapy against COVID-19. His work in this field has been recognized with several awards: he was one of the 20 finalists out of over 700 projects presented at the virtual Hackathon “A Response to COVID-19 #VenceAlVirus organized by the Ministry of Science, Universities and Innovation “Project Capture” 2020; ISCT 2021 top Scoring Abstract Award (2021), Healthstart Madrid “Project Release” organized by the madri+d Foundation (2021). Best abstract-oral presentation Elevator Pitch [Timing of donor selection on CD45RA-memory T cells as adoptive cell therapy for COVID-19 (ISCT 2022)]. In 2022, he was also awarded the best publication in the maternal-infant and adolescent area [(IdiPaz 2022. Phase I dose-escalation single center clinical trial to evaluate the safety of infusion of memory T cells as adoptive therapy in COVID-19 (RELEASE)].