Ground-breaking immune therapy leading cancer fight

Researchers from the Centre for Cancer Biology have opened a new clinical trial using genetically engineered immune cells to treat solid cancers.

Phase 1 of the clinical trial will reportedly test the feasibility and safety of CAR-T cells (genetically modified white blood cells that have the ability to kill cancers) to treat advanced solid tumours including, small cell lung cancer, sarcomas and triple negative breast cancer.

“Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells are a promising new technology in the field of cancer immunotherapy,” said UniSA’s Dr Tessa Gargett, a Cancer Council Beat Cancer Project Early Career Fellow from the Centre for Cancer Biology.

“Essentially, CAR-T cells are super-powered immune cells, which work by enlisting and strengthening the power of a patient’s immune system to attack tumours.”

Leading the clinical trial is the Centre for Cancer Biology – an alliance between University of South Australia, the Central Adelaide Local Health Network (CALHN) and the Royal Adelaide Hospital.

The research is said to form part of the ‘CARPETS’ phase 1 clinical trial initiated by Professor Michael Brown, Director of Clinical Trials Unit at RAH.

The trial is reportedly funded by Cancer Council’s, Beat Cancer Project and sponsored by CALHN.

“Through Cancer Council’s Beat Cancer Project and generous donations from the community over the past eight years, we’ve been able to contribute over $15m towards ground-breaking research initiatives,” Cancer Council SA Chief Executive, Lincoln Size said.

“Partnering with the University of South Australia, the RAH and CALHN on this leading immunotherapy trial is bringing [a cancer free future] on step closer, and we’re proud to be part of this very important work.”

Friday, August 23 is Daffodil Day. For more information or to donate to cancer research, visit –

For more information on Cancer Council’s Beat Cancer Project, visit –

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