MCRI Update: CAR T Cell Research, University of Würzburg
The Myeloma Crowd funded two key immunotherapy projects as part of the Myeloma Crowd Research Initiative. I had the privilege and opportunity to visit the lab of Dr. Michael Hudecek and Dr. Hermann Einsele at the University of Würzburg in Germany in June while hosting a Myeloma Crowd Round Table patient meeting. Dr. Hudecek graciously shared an update on the CAR T cell project. Because of the MCRI donation made by patients, family members and supporters (YOU!) , this exciting research is being tested in mouse models and is being prepared to enter the clinic. The recent exciting announcements at the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) meeting on CAR T Cell research further validates our selection of this project. The MCRI process invited investigators worldwide to submit their research proposals for high-risk myeloma, a subset of patients who had dismal outcomes, even with today's therapies. The search yielded 36 proposals, which were then ranked and narrowed to the top 10 by our MCRI Scientific Advisory Board. We then hosted each of the top 10 on Myeloma Crowd Radio so investigators could share their ideas with the patient community. Patients were encouraged to call in with their questions and the MCRI Patient Advisory Board members co-hosted the show. With full proposals submitted by the top 10, the MCRI Scientific and Patient Advisory Board together voted on the final two projects. This process was key in finding the top research globally. Thanks to your generous donations and support, we have donated to date $230,000 to the CAR T Cell project. Key updates from Dr. Hudecek's work include:
- Development of a CS1 CAR T Cell with a follow-on BCMA CAR T Cell with the opportunity to target two proteins at once
- The use of the Sleeping Beauty technology using DNA minicircles instead of a viral method. The standard viral method is expensive to manufacture and is typically done in small batches, so mass production is difficult.
- The creation of a "remote control" where the effects of the CAR T Cell therapy can be paused if side effects are seen. This feature can also "unpause" the T cells to resume their activity once side effects have been addressed.
Learn more in the video with Dr. Michael Hudecek of the University of Würzburg as he describes the unique features and advantages of their CAR T Cell work. You can donate to this important and exciting research here: Myeloma Crowd Research Initiative