CAR-T cell therapy advances treatment for multiple myeloma

Multiple myeloma is a rare and incurable type of cancer that affects cells in the bone marrow called plasma cells. An EU-funded project is using revolutionary cell technology to tackle multiple myeloma, developing a viable and commercially attractive treatment for it and other rare diseases.

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Countries
Countries
  Algeria
  Argentina
  Australia
  Austria
  Bangladesh
  Belarus
  Belgium
  Benin
  Bolivia
  Bosnia and Herzegovina
  Brazil
  Bulgaria
  Burkina Faso
  Cambodia
  Cameroon
  Canada
  Cape Verde
  Chile
  China
  Colombia
  Costa Rica
  Croatia
  Cyprus
  Czechia
  Denmark
  Ecuador
  Egypt
  Estonia
  Ethiopia
  Faroe Islands
  Finland
  France
  French Polynesia
  Georgia


  Infocentre

Published: 30 April 2019  
Related theme(s) and subtheme(s)
Health & life sciencesMajor diseases  |  Molecular biology  |  Public health
Innovation
Pure sciencesBiology
Research policyHorizon 2020
SMEs
Countries involved in the project described in the article
Belgium  |  France  |  Germany  |  Italy  |  Spain  |  Switzerland
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CAR-T cell therapy advances treatment for multiple myeloma

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© ibreakstock #140248248, 2019 source: stock.adobe.com

Multiple myeloma is a malignancy that develops in bone marrow plasma cells, part of the immune system. Plasma cells make proteins called antibodies when the body responds to infections. Treatment for multiple myeloma can be very expensive and has only limited availability in socio-economically underdeveloped countries.

Investigators working under the EU-funded CARAMBA project are conducting clinical trials using CAR-T cell therapy. During this treatment, a patient's own T cells, a type of immune system cell, are altered in the laboratory so that they will attack cancer cells.

T cells are taken from the patient’s own body and a receptor that binds to a certain protein on cancer cells is then added in the laboratory. This receptor is called a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR). Numbers of these CAR-T cells are grown in the laboratory and then used to treat the patient.

Under the CARAMBA project, researchers are engineering T cells to express a CAR specific for the myeloma antigen known as SLAMF7. This is a robust marker of malignant multiple myeloma plasma cells that is uniformly expressed on all such cells in every patient. This means, for example, that SLAMF7 treatment is equally effective in women and men.

The efficacy and safety of SLAMF7 CAR-T cells have been validated in preclinical testing. CAR-T cell therapy has already been recognised as a breakthrough therapy in leukaemia and lymphoma.

The CARAMBA team is building on novel, cutting-edge CAR technologies to substantially reduce the cost of CAR-T cell manufacturing. The project is thereby establishing CAR-T cell therapy as an effective, commercially attractive and affordable treatment in multiple myeloma and potentially other rare diseases for patients worldwide.

Project details

  • Project acronym: CARAMBA
  • Participants: Germany (Coordinator), Italy, Spain, France, Belgium, Switzerland
  • Project N°: 754658
  • Total costs: € 6 097 875
  • EU contribution: € 6 097 875
  • Duration: January 2018 to April 2022

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