Julia Carnevale, MD

Funded by the V Foundation Sonoma Epicurean in honor of Leslie Sbrocco

CAR-T cell therapy is a type of therapy where a cancer patient’s immune cells, called T cells, are removed from the patient, altered in the laboratory to make them recognize cancer cells, and then given back to the patient. These CAR-T cell therapies have been unbelievably successful for liquid cancers like leukemias and lymphomas, however they have not yet been very successful for patients with solid tumors. Recently, a clinical trial of a certain kind of CAR-T cells for patients with stomach and pancreas cancers showed that CAR-T cells can fight these cancer cells in the body, but the patients only had short responses and their tumors came back. CAR-T cells need to be good serial killers of cancer cells, however they can often get tired in battle and stop working well. We want to apply our knowledge of gene engineering to make new and better versions of these CAR-T cells that do not tire quickly and can therefore fight cancer for longer. We do this by making different kinds of alterations in the genes of the CAR-T cells that give them more endurance, changing them from sprinters to long-distance runners. We can also make entirely new CARs (the part of the CAR-T cell that recognizes the tumor cells) that can bind the tumor cells with slightly different strengths, which we know can also make the cells less exhausted in battle. If successful, we will push these CAR-T cells to new heights, achieving longer remissions for patients battling gastrointestinal cancers.

Location: UCSF/Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center - San Francisco
Proposal: Engineering Cutting-Edge Claudin18.2 CAR-T Cells for the Treatment of Gastrointestinal Malignancies
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