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Weinkove Laboratory

The  Weinkove Laboratory 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 led 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

Dr Rachel Perret

Team Leader

Dr Nathaniel Dasyam

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr Patricia Rubio-Reyes

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr Andrew Wilson

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Senior Research Officer: Puja Paudel

Research Officer: Felix O'Hagan, Paul Owaci

PhD Students: Danielle Sword

Research areas
  • CAR T-cell therapy
  • Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell clinical trials
  • Development of new CAR T-cell constructs
  • Functional and genetic characterisation of CAR T-cells
Research projects
  • ENABLE phase 1 CAR T-cell trial (NCT0409513)
  • Characterisation of transgene number and sites of CAR T-cells
  • Development of CAR T-cell safety switches

Featured publications

George P, Dasyam N, Giunti G, Mester B, Bauer E, Andrews B, Perera T, Ostapowicz T, Frampton C, Li P, Ritchie D, Bollard CM, Hermans IF, Weinkove R (2020). Third-generation anti-CD19 chimeric antigen receptor T-cells incorporating a TLR2 domain for relapsed or refractory B-cell lymphoma: a phase I clinical trial protocol (ENABLE). BMJ Open.10(2):e034629 

Weinkove R, George P, Dasyam N, McLellan AD (2019) Selecting costimulatory domains for chimeric antigen receptors: functional and clinical considerations. Clin Transl Immunology 8(5):e1049

Nouri Y, Weinkove R, Perret R (2021). T-cell intrinsic Toll-like receptor signaling: implications for cancer immunotherapy and CAR T-cells. J Immunother Cancer. 9(11):e003065