UPenn Researchers Awarded $500K Grant to Develop CAR T-cell Therapy for Advanced PC

UPenn Researchers Awarded $500K Grant to Develop CAR T-cell Therapy for Advanced PC
A research team at the Abramson Cancer Center of the University of Pennsylvania has been awarded a $500,000 grant from the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy (ACGT) to develop a CAR T-cell therapy to treat prostate cancer. The ACGT grant was awarded to Joseph Fraietta, PhD, an assistant professor of microbiology with expertise in tumor immunology, and Naomi Haas, MD, an associate professor of medicine and director of the prostate and kidney cancer program. Haas is currently conducting a Phase 1 clinical trial (NCT03089203) investigating the safety and proper dosage of a form of CAR T-cell therapy for prostate cancer patients. In previous studies and clinical trials, prostate cancer has been resistant to the CAR T-cell therapeutic approach. However, as many prostate cancer patients are resistant to traditional approaches — such as chemotherapy, hormonal treatment, and surgery — developing a new strategy is of the utmost importance. CAR T-cell therapy is a technique in which T-cells, a type of immune cell, are collected from a patient and then treated in the laboratory to elevate their anti-tumor activity. This is accomplished by genetically engineering the T-cells to produce what is called a chimeric antigen receptor, or CAR, which is a protein that is specifically designed to recognize some component of the patient's tumor. The engineered CAR T-cells are expanded in the lab, and then infused back into the patient's bloodstream, where they can then help eliminate cancer cells. The new award will fund research into improving the effectiveness of T-cells in battling the cancer cells of solid tumors. The team's study will investigate how the availability of nutrients may play a role in the regulation of what genes are active in T-cells — a process called ep
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