28 November 2016
The Malaghan Institute of Medical Research has initiated an exciting new partnership with Chinese researchers to develop and trial leading-edge cancer immunotherapies in New Zealand. Hunan Zhaotai Medical Research Group visited the institute, as part of a delegation from the city of Changsha, to sign a letter of intent to partner with the Malaghan Institute to develop new CAR-T cell therapies against cancer.
CAR-T cell therapies involve modifying patients’ immune cells (T cells) in the laboratory, to redirect them against cancer cells. The modified T cells are then returned to the patient, where they can attack and destroy cancer cells.
Dr Robert Weinkove, Clinical Director of the Human Immunology Laboratory, who will be leading this project, says: “The Malaghan Institute of Medical Research has special laboratories for the production of patient-specific immune treatments, and experience in running clinical trials in this area. We are very excited at the prospect of bringing CAR-T cell therapies to New Zealand, as these treatments hold great potential.”
The intention is to create a New Zealand-based joint venture which will trial and develop this exciting new form of immunotherapy internationally.
Members of the press joined the signing ceremony at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, which resulted in positive media coverage throughout New Zealand and beyond.