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Dartmouth CAR Cell Therapy Moves to Clinical Trial

January 14, 2015
Lebanon, NH

Cancer fighting chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells, developed in the Sentman laboratory of Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center, are taking the next step into a Phase I clinical trial beginning early in 2015. Charles Sentman, PhD, first published this novel work with CAR T cells in Blood in 2005 and in Cancer Research in 2006. Sentman and his team demonstrated that their CAR therapies may have broad applicability for many different cancers, and found that CAR therapy eliminated tumors from animals in addition to preventing cancer recurrence. Professor Sentman is one of the Scientific Founders of Celdara Medical, LLC (CM), and has been collaborating with CM to translate this work to the clinic. On January 6, Cardio3 BioSciences announced the acquisition of OnCyte, LLC, a division of CM comprising these technologies, to further advance the therapies.

The first therapy to move to a clinical trial is CM-CS1, an autologous CAR T cell therapy that employs a "natural killer" cell receptor (NKG2D) to target ligands present on most tumor types, including both hematologic cancers and solid tumors. Many cancers are known to express these targets, including cancers of the pancreas, breast, and prostate. The current clinical trial is in hematologic cancers such as leukemia and myeloma.

Several other related therapies, as well as a next generation platform technology, are in preclinical development. The next generation platform from Sentman's lab combines CAR T cells with another innovation they developed called TCR-inhibiting molecules (TIMs). TIMs are designed to allow CAR therapy to be used with T cells from healthy donors yet avoid Graft-versus-Host-Disease (GVHD). If successful, the TIM/CAR approach will reduce time to treatment, simplify logistics, and significantly decrease costs.

"We are very excited about the opportunity to move these novel therapies into the clinic," Sentman said." It is an exciting time in cancer immunotherapy, and the potential of CAR cell therapies holds great promise to improve patients' health."

The Sentman laboratory is at Dartmouth's Norris Cotton Cancer Center in Lebanon, NH and is funded by the National Institutes of Health.

About Norris Cotton Cancer Center at Dartmouth-Hitchcock

Norris Cotton Cancer Center combines advanced cancer research at Dartmouth and the Geisel School of Medicine with patient-centered cancer care provided at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, NH, at Dartmouth-Hitchcock regional locations in Manchester, Nashua, and Keene, NH, and St. Johnsbury, VT, and at 12 partner hospitals throughout New Hampshire and Vermont. It is one of 41 centers nationwide to earn the National Cancer Institute's "Comprehensive Cancer Center" designation. Learn more about Norris Cotton Cancer Center research, programs, and clinical trials online at cancer.dartmouth.edu.

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