Molecular Therapy

Meet New Editor-in-Chief of Molecular Therapy–Oncolytics: Dr. Tim Cripe

Devin Rose - January 19, 2023

Dr. Cripe assumed his role with Molecular Therapy Oncolytics on Jan. 1, replacing Yuman Fong, MD.

Timothy P. Cripe, MD, PhD, has held many different roles in the field of gene and cell therapy. As a physician-scientist, he has dedicated his career to developing biologic therapies for kids with cancer. He’s experienced in all stages of drug development, from an idea to clinical testing and trials. He’s a researcher and podcaster. Now, Dr. Cripe is well into his first month of a new venture—editor-in-chief of Molecular Therapy Oncolytics (MTO).

Dr. Cripe is currently chief of the division of hematology/oncology/blood and marrow transplant at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, a Gordon Teter Endowed Chair in Pediatric Cancer at Nationwide Children’s Hospital, and a professor of pediatrics at The Ohio State University. On Jan. 1, he began his five-year-term on Jan. 1, replacing inaugural editor Yuman Fong, MD. Dr. Cripe wants to build on what Dr. Fong accomplished in the last 10 years to make MTO the premier journal worldwide for gene and cell therapy for cancer. While that sounds like a big task, Dr. Cripe says it comes down to publishing the best (ideally translational) science so that more people want to use the journal as a platform to disseminate their work.

Creating a solid team for timely feedback

A strong team is essential for a high-impact journal. It's important to have a good group of associate editors who have their own trusted reviewer contacts, Dr. Cripe says. That ensures manuscripts get a thorough review with no holes or errors. The journal has added more associate editors to include broader expertise. Dr. Cripe says he wants to get to know them well so everyone is aligned on what kinds of data they’re looking for.

Do we need animal data or in vitro data? Do we want to make sure data are validated, or will we accept database mining? These decisions will be up to the team.

“At the end of the day, it’s two or three people who determine a manuscript’s fate,” Dr. Cripe says. “It’s not just about me; it’s the whole editorial team.”

Dr. Cripe would also like to decrease the time it takes editors to make first decisions on manuscripts so that papers don’t sit for too long. As a manuscript submitter himself, he says it can be frustrating for authors when papers linger. Papers that aren’t accepted should be returned to authors quickly so they can submit to other journals, Dr. Cripe says.

Challenges: Improving visibility, communication, research models

To raise awareness about the journal, Dr. Cripe has a couple of initiatives in mind. He’d like to “get boots on the ground,” he says, and sponsor or attend more meetings going forward. He’s also planning to include more editorials and commentaries in MTO.

“It can be very useful to point people to important work and give a perspective,” Dr. Cripe says, especially when scientists aren’t always good at communicating about their work. Commentary that explains the work may encourage more people to pay attention to the publication, he added.

Other challenges include rigor and reproducibility of data, and related to that, identifying models for research when the goal is for a drug to work in a human.

“When you want something to work in a person, that’s the only true model,” Dr. Cripe says. “Nevertheless, we need to test most therapies in other types of models first, and it is important to understand their limitations in predicting how a therapy will work in humans.”

For the CGT field, “these next few years are going to be amazing”

Dr. Fong says he’s thankful to ASGCT members and leadership for their support of MTO since its very first issue in 2014.

“It’s always challenging to get good articles before a journal gets an impact factor,” he says. “Thanks to colleagues who believed in what we were doing, and believed in a journal backed by ASGCT, superb original and review papers were the normal even from the beginning.”

Dr. Fong adds that he’s really optimistic about the future as CGT moves from a research field to a clinical specialty.

“We are at that point in gene therapy, as when anesthesia propelled forward surgery, or antibiotics propelled forward infectious diseases. The Molecular Therapy family of journals will be a wonderful forum for all of this progress.”

Devin Rose is ASGCT's communications manager. 

(Photos were used for free under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 License: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/2.0/)

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