Clinical translation of CAR T cell therapy for the treatment of sarcoma

Dr Kavitha Gowrishankar, Children’s Hospital Westmead
Dr Kavitha Gowrishankar, Children’s Hospital Westmead

Recipient: A/Professor Geoff McCowage & Dr Kavitha Gowrishankar
Institute: Children's Hospital at Westmead
Funding: $281,000 October 2021 to September 2024 (The Kids' Cancer Project: $115,500, The Tie Die Project: $115,500, The Children's Cancer Research Unit: $50,000)

Sarcoma is an aggressive cancer that comprises 20% of all childhood cancer with 20-25% of children not surviving beyond five years. Commonly occurring in children and young adults, sarcomas express tumour specific proteins or antigens (a protein or other molecule found only on cancer cells and not on normal cells). Current treatments for sarcoma are inadequate with novel treatments required to improve outcomes.

Immunotherapy with genetically modified immune T cells expressing chimeric antigen receptors (CAR T cells: a special receptor created in the laboratory designed to bind to certain proteins on cancer cells) has revolutionised cancer treatment, especially for haematological malignancies. The aim of this project is to focus on the clinical translation of the laboratory tested CAR T cells into Phase 1 trials for paediatric sarcoma patients and to extend this exciting and powerful technology on solid tumours, like sarcoma.