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"Remote-Controlled" CAR-T Technology Can Help Personalize Cell Therapy for Cancer

Strategic Alliance Partnership | <b>Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy</b>

Crystal Mackall, MD, an Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy scientist, is helping create a remote-control technology to personalize CAR T-cell therapy for each cancer patient.

Crystal Mackall, MD, an Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy scientist, is helping create a remote-control technology to personalize CAR T-cell therapy for each cancer patient.

Mackall is a member of the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy (ACGT) Scientific Advisory Council. She’s also a past Research Fellow and ACGT grant recipient. Mackall received grant funding to develop a CAR T-cell therapy for pediatric neuroblastoma (nerve cell cancer) and osteosarcoma (bone cancer). Her work has translated to brain cancer research, specifically for pediatric cases of diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG).

SNIP CAR-T for Bone Cancer and Brain Cancer

Mackall, the Founding Director of the Stanford Center for Cancer Cell Therapy and Director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy at Stanford University, aims to develop a technology that gives doctors more control over active CAR T cells.

She and her team tested a remote-control technology, called SNIP CAR-T, in mice with osteosarcoma and medulloblastoma (brain cancer). In many of the tests, the SNIP CAR-T technology helped the engineered T cells kill the tumors.

Mackall said in an article on the Stanford Medicine website, “We’ve created a ‘remote-controlled’ CAR-T therapy that is tunable for each patient. These modified CAR-T cells are not only safer but they are also more potent and more versatile than the original CAR-T cells.”

The remote-controlled CAR T cells have a signal that keeps them inactive. The scientists use a hepatitis C medication to override the signal and activate the cells. This level of control allowed for scientists to shut down the CAR T cells if a patient responded poorly. The cell and gene therapy also performed better than usual due to having a “rest time” each day as the effects of the hepatitis C medication wore off.

Mackall said, “This is critical for patients who experience toxicity. We could turn the cells off and give the patient time to recover.”

Read more about Mackall’s remote-control technology for CAR T-cell therapy on the Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy website.