Dr. Robert Weinkove

HRC fellowship recognises leadership and potential in CAR T-cell therapy

20 November 2018

The Malaghan Institute’s ground-breaking CAR T-cell therapy programme has received a significant boost from the Health Research Council (HRC) as part of its 2019 Career Development Awards.

Dr Robert Weinkove, Clinical Director at the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, has been awarded a Clinical Practitioner Research Fellowship worth more than $800,000 over five years, for his clinical and translational research into CAR T-cell therapy.

The Malaghan Institute is currently researching a new version of CAR T-cell therapy, a revolutionary new cancer treatment which redirects a patient’s own immune cells to fight the disease, with a clinical trial to test safety and efficacy planned for 2019.

Dr Weinkove says that combining clinical duties and scientific research is a great way to ensure that the research focuses on important healthcare questions.

“This fellowship is a tremendously exciting opportunity. During the fellowship, I expect to help make advances in basic research and clinical trials of CAR T-cells, and I look forward to helping introduce this type of treatment to New Zealand in the future.”

Professor Graham Le Gros, Director at the Malaghan Institute, says the Health Research Council’s fellowship recognises Rob’s expertise, passion and leadership in cancer immunotherapy as well as the real potential of CAR T-cell therapy as a frontline cancer treatment in New Zealand.

“This is a tremendous outcome for Rob, and for our CAR T-cell therapy programme. It underpins the leadership of this ambitious programme, enabling us to direct other funding and fundraising towards the clinical trials and research, with the goal of accelerating the availability of this ground-breaking treatment in New Zealand.”