University College London
UCL is Europe’s leading health research multidisciplinary university with one of the world's major concentrations of biomedical researchers grouping 8,000 staff and 22,000 students. Most of UCL’s contribution to CARAT will come from the UCL Cancer Institute (UCL-CI). This institute opened in 2007 with the goal of consolidating cancer research across the campus and fostering interactions and collaborations between cancer researchers and scientists in other areas. UCL in general and the department of Hematology in particular has a long history of cell therapy. The first studies of adoptive immunotherapy using CMV-specific CTLs were described in UCL. In addition, UCL has a highly successful adult and paediatric experimental allogeneic transplantation programme. The adult part of this programme has a particular focus on allogeneic transplantation of relapsed lymphomas. This fits perfectly with clinical studies proposed in CARAT. In addition, UCL also has a long history of gene-therapy and has successfully combined T-cell and gene-therapy.As well as the clinical and translational experience detailed above, UCL has a long heritage of basic and pre-clinical research in the interaction between the immune system and cancer.
UCL will lead WP2 on CAR design. The main aim of the work is to establish new CAR designs to overcome risks like toxicity by cytokine release syndrome and on-target off-tumour activity. The team at UCL brings essential expertise into the consortium to establish innovate approaches like “remote controled” tunable CARs, antibody (mAb) triggered suicide genes and the use of of signalling endodomains. UCL input to the concept of a joint CAR construct will ensure that the results will be comparable between the investigators.