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Freemasons CAR T-cell Research Programme

The Freemasons CAR T-cell Research Group, led by Dr Rachel Peret, investigates how the immune system can be trained to fight cancer more effectively. By engineering and redirecting T lymphocytes to recognise cancer cell proteins more effectively, tumours can be safely targeted for destruction.

This research group builds on the work that lead to the NZ-first phase I CAR T-cell clinical trial, currently underway at the Malaghan Institute. Specifically, they are investigating the different costimulatory signalling pathways that control the internal workings of CAR T-cells. They aim to identify beneficial aspects of the CAR T-cells that can be enhanced, and to pinpoint any weaknesses for improvement. This will allow the design of even better, safer, and more broadly applicable CAR T-cell therapies for both blood cancers and solid tumours.