The Malaghan Institute of New Zealand will commence a Phase I clinical trial of a CAR T-cell therapy treatment, the first in New Zealand, in a bid to redirect patients’ immune systems to build protection against cancer. The study will involve up to 12 participants diagnosed with refractory B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma and who have tried all other options.
Led by the Malaghan Institute’s cancer immunotherapy clinical trials team, this is an exciting first for New Zealand. The Phase I safety trial will involve up to 12 participants diagnosed with certain types of relapsed and refractory B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and who have tried all other options reports Felix Desmarals New Zealand’s Stuff publication.
It was reported that the New Zealand Government is helping to fund this effort with $4.9 million and this is estimated to be half of the total cost.
Manufacture of the Cells
Malaghan Institute is not only conducting the clinical trial but they are also manufacturing the cells in a dedicated cell therapy suite and this requires highly specialized laboratories and specialized staff all under high quality manufacturing standards. The New Zealand team have been investing and developing for over two years now in preparation of this key milestone. The hope is that this platform technology will enable Malaghan Institute to undertake many CAR T-cell trials for a number of indications.
The manufacturing capability now, in part, is funded by the New Zealand Government, which announced a $14.4 million investment into new science research including the CAR T cancer treatment infrastructure at Malaghan Institute.
How to Participate
This early-stage safety trial is not right for all patients. The trial sponsors at the Malaghan Institute are only accepting patients from hematologists or oncologists.
About Malaghan Institute of Medical Research
The Malaghan Institute of Medical Research is an independent biomedical research institute associated with the Victoria University of Wellington in Wellington, New Zealand. The organization specializes in the immune system and how it can be harnessed for the treatment of diseases such as cancer, asthma, inflammation, multiple sclerosis and infectious disease.
It was founded in 1979 and originally called the Wellington Cancer and Medical Research Centre. It is named for Lee Malaghan, the co-founder of Tip Top Ice Cream Ltd (later General Foods) who died of cancer at the young age of 61.
Dr. Robert Weinkove, Clinical Director
Call to Action: Are you based in New Zealand and have a loved one with a diagnosis of relapsed and refractory B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma that fits the inclusion criteria for this Phase I safety trial? If so, work with your oncologist to determine if participation makes sense. For CROs and sponsors, it is noteworthy that Malaghan Institute now has the capability to produce cells for CAR T-cell studies.