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Cell & Gene Therapy Insights

Cell & Gene Therapy Insights

UPenn receives ACGT grant to develop CAR-T therapy for prostate cancer

A scientific team at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania (UPenn) has received an ACGT grant to accelerate CAR-T cell gene therapy treatment for advanced metastatic prostate cancer.

The $500,000 grant was awarded to T cell biologist Dr Joseph Fraietta, assistant professor of microbiology and Dr Naomi Haas, Director of the Prostate and Kidney Cancer Program, associate professor of medicine, and nationally renowned expert in the field of prostate and kidney cancer.

ACGT is dedicated to funding innovative science that harnesses the power of cell and gene therapy and transforms how cancer is treated. Previously, the CAR-T therapy pioneer, Dr Carl June received the ACGT grants in 2004 and 2008. His work helped pave the way to develop CAR-T therapies for a number of blood cancers.

The goal of the ACGT-funded study is to overcome prostate cancer’s stubborn resistance to CAR-T cell therapy. The UPenn team will explore approaches for re-engineering T-cells to enable them to induce safe, long-term remission for advanced, metastatic prostate cancer patients.

Dr Fraietta’s and Dr Haas’s teams will explore the connection between nutrient availability and epigenetic programming, and how these factors could influence the viability of T cells and their anti-tumor functionality. The research builds on promising results being achieved by Dr Haas in related prostate cancer clinical trials. In these trials, different doses of CAR-T cell gene therapies are being used to treat metastatic patients for whom traditional hormonal therapies, chemotherapies, radiation and surgery have failed.

Kevin Honeycutt, CEO and president of ACGT stated: “The ACGT Scientific Advisory Council is impressed with the potential of this research team and their successful innovations in the use of T-cell therapy. Because Drs. Fraietta and Haas are building on direct results already achieved with patients, there may be less transition time required to get a promising new treatment into the clinic for prostate cancer patients. Plus, we believe this research could provide a tumor-attack roadmap to help fight other cancers, including lung, pancreatic, ovarian and brain.”

Source: University of Pennsylvania researchers nab grant for CAR-T prostate cancer test; Website

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