Optimisation of chimeric antigen receptor immunotherapy: building a better car?

Undertake an honours project in the construction and evaluation of a novel Chimeric Antigen Receptor T cell targeting a solid tumour antigen.

CAR-T cells have demonstrated robust clinical activity against B-cell cancer, although they also cause B cell aplasia. However, it has been noted that perhaps the greatest challenge to the field of engineered T cell therapy is the identification of a ‘universal’ CAR-T, that is, a CAR-T cell that can attack a broad range of cancers, especially solid cancers.

We have identified and tested a cancer target that we believe has the potential to meet this challenge. P2X7 is a human cell surface protein that, when functioning normally, controls programmed cell death in old or damaged cells.

A dysfunctional version of P2X7, named nfP2X78, has been identified on cancer cells from a wide variety of tissues, including brain, prostate, breast, melanoma, bowel, ovary, cervix, lung, pancreas and stomach, while being completely absent on healthy cells.

We propose that a CAR-T cell targeting nfP2X7 could attack a broad range of solid cancers and have little, if any, off-cancer damage.

We have already generated prototype nfP2X7 targeted CAR-T cells and have data showing that these CAR-T cells can kill several solid cancer cell types in the laboratory. this project will develop and test new CAR-T constructs.

Professor Simon Barry


Professor Simon Barry

Co-supervisor: Tim Sadlon - Women's and Children's Hospital | Dr Veronika Bandara

Research area: Molecular immunology

Recommended honours enrolment: Honours in Molecular and Biomedical Science

Tagged in Honours projects - Molecular and biomedical science, Honours projects - Simon Barry, Honours projects - Tim Sadlon, Honours projects - Veronika Bandara, Honours projects - Molecular and biomedical science: Genetics