Both brain cancers and acute and chronic myeloid leukaemias affect Australians throughout their lifespan. These difficult to treat cancers are rarely curable. Standard treatments work for a time and then fail because the cancer becomes resistant.
We propose to take an entirely novel approach to treating these resistant cancers by harnessing the power of the patient’s immune system against their cancer. We will re-program the patient’s immune system by making their own T cells recognize and kill cancer cells more efficiently in the laboratory before returning them to the patient’s body. The ‘genetically engineered’ T cells will then be armed to target the patient’s cancer directly. We will do this in a way that reduces the possibility of serious side effects.
Once we have shown that this approach works, we can turn to using this T-cell therapy for earlier stages of the cancer as well as for other cancers.