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Weinkove Laboratory

The Weinkove Laboratory works on chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapies. CAR T-cell therapies involve genetic redirection of a patient’s own T lymphocytes to recognise cancer cell proteins.

This research group has led New Zealand’s first CAR T-cell clinical trial, ENABLE (NCT04049513), a first-in-human study of a new 3rd generation CAR T-cell product that incorporates a novel co-stimulatory domain based on TLR2. Working closely with manufacturing partner BioOra and Wellington Zhaotai Therapies Limited, the Weinkove group has automated CAR T-cell manufacturing, and is planning a larger phase 2 trial.

 As well as conducting manufacturing R&D and running the ENABLE clinical trial programme, the Weinkove group has pre-clinical projects investigating a new CAR T-cell safety switch, dual-specificity CAR T-cells, and new methods for the genomic analysis of CAR T-cell products.

Dr Rachel Perret

Team Leader

Dr Nathaniel Dasyam

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Dr Patricia Rubio-Reyes

Postdoctoral Research Fellow

Senior Research Officer: Puja Paudel

Research Officer: Felix O'Hagan

PhD Students: Danielle Sword, Paul Owaci

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

Fyfe R, Anstis O, Kapadia K, Jordan M, Sword DO, Weinkove R. Experiences and perspectives on chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy among recipients, carers and referrers (RE-TELL): a qualitative study to inform CAR T-cell service design.

BMJ Open. 2024 Jan 23;14(1):e071112.

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

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