Peter Mac and Cartherics in new collaboration to develop CAR-T therapy

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The Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and Cartherics have announced a new collaboration to develop the company's autologous CAR-T cell therapy (CTH-004) for the treatment of ovarian cancer.

Peter Mac said the trial will be the first time a CAR-T cell therapy product containing the genetic modifications incorporated into CTH-004 has been tested in humans.

The collaboration will seek to develop clinical-scale manufacturing of CTH-004 and conduct a Phase 1 clinical trial. This program will be led at Peter Mac by the Centre of Excellence in Cellular Immunotherapy, with manufacturing conducted by its manufacturing partners, Cell Therapies.

The clinical trial will initially enrol 6-12 patients with ovarian cancer who have failed prior treatment with chemotherapy. The primary goal of the clinical trial is to investigate the safety of CTH-004 in this patient population.

Ovarian cancer takes more than 1,000 Australian lives each year. With a five-year survival rate of just 49 per cent, there is an urgent need for new treatment options.

According to Professor Simon Harrison, the director of the Centre of Excellence in Cellular Immunotherapy at Peter Mac, “CAR T-cell therapy is a powerful immunotherapy that is uniquely tailored for each patient and which re-purposes their own T-cells to fight their cancer.

“It has emerged as a new treatment paradigm in blood cancer where it can produce complete responses, meaning their blood cancer has disappeared, in patients who have exhausted all other treatment options.

“The Centre of Excellence in Cellular Immunotherapy at Peter Mac is part of an international research effort to expand CAR T-cell therapy beyond blood cancer, and we’re excited to be working with Cartherics to stage this first-in-human clinical trial in ovarian cancer.”

Cartherics CEO Professor Alan Trounson added, “There are many patients needing help to control ovarian cancer and CAR-T therapy could be a game changer for them. It is our priority to ensure this potential therapy is tested in clinical trials as soon as possible.”