Short description

Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cell immunotherapy is a clinically approved approach to treat cancer with genetically modified autologous (patient’s own) T cells. Although CAR T cell immunotherapy has changed the paradigm of how to treat certain blood cancers, it is not always successful, which is evident from the frequent unresponsiveness of the disease to therapy or relapse. The efficacy of CAR T cell immunotherapy is limited in solid tumors and in blood cancers that induce dysfunctional T cell phenotypes. In addition, dysfunctional T cells can prevent the successful manufacturing of CAR T cells in patients seeking CD19 CAR therapy.

Genetic integration of relevant accessory molecules into CAR T cells is a promising approach to improve T cell function and therapy outcome. However, there remain both knowledge and translational gaps in (i) understanding which accessory molecules will provide optimal therapeutic efficacy when overexpressed in CAR T cells and (ii) how to genetically integrate them into CAR T cells in a clinically feasible and safe manner.

Our research project aims to fill the gaps. Our research team is composed of researchers from four Slovenian and one US world-renowned institutions. The Slovenian team comprises:

Coordinator: National Institute of Biology

Partner 1: University of Ljubljana, Biotechnical Faculty

Partner 2: Institute of Oncology Ljubljana

Partner 3: Blood Transfusion Centre of Slovenia

This project is financed by the Slovenian Research Agency (ARRS).
Project ID: J3-3084
Duration: 1.10.2021 – 30.09.2024