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Deciphering CAR T Cells: Exploring functional mechanisms to drive next generation immunotherapy

This webinar is brought to you by the Science/AAAS Custom Publishing Office

Deciphering CAR T Cells: Exploring functional mechanisms to drive next generation immunotherapy

Recorded 11 April 2019


Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell immunotherapy shows great promise as a treatment for cancer and other diseases. CAR T cells are patient-derived T cells engineered to express an antigen receptor that is specific for the patient’s tumor cells. While there has been some clinical success with CAR-T therapy, researchers still face challenges in optimizing its effectiveness, for example when applying it to solid tumors, and in addressing safety concerns such as neurotoxicities. Understanding the functional mechanisms and underlying signaling pathways of CAR T cell activity is crucial to overcoming these challenges. Intensive efforts have been made in recent years to decipher these mechanisms and to elucidate unique signaling pathways in different T-cell subpopulations, in order to develop better clinical strategies. This webinar will introduce the audience to the range of different T-cell populations and the roles they play in normal immune function as well as disease, and will explain how recent breakthroughs in our understanding of these specialized immune cells can lead to improvements in disease treatment.

During the webinar, viewers will:

  • Learn about the different roles of distinct T-cell subsets in healthy and diseased individuals
  • Gain an understanding of the mechanisms of action of different T-cell populations
  • Hear about the exploration of pathways to augment T-cell immunity
  • Have the opportunity to ask questions during the live broadcast.

This webinar will last for approximately 60 minutes.

You can also view part 1 of this series.

Speaker bios

Wendell Lim, Ph.D.

University of California San Francisco
San Francisco, CA

Dr. Lim is the Byers Distinguished Professor and Chair of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Pharmacology at the University of California, San Francisco, and a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator. He received his A.B. in Chemistry summa cum laude from Harvard College, his Ph.D. in biochemistry and biophysics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and completed his postdoctoral training at Yale University. His research focuses on the design principles of molecular circuits that govern cell decision-making and responses. His lab has made contributions to understanding the molecular machinery of cell signaling and how molecular modules have been used in evolution to build novel new behaviors. Most recently, he has been a pioneer in the emerging field of synthetic biology, exploring how these design principles can be harnessed to engineer cells with customized therapeutic response programs. He is an author of the textbook Cell Signaling (Garland Science, 2014) and was the founder of the cell therapy biotech startup Cell Design Labs, which was acquired by Gilead Biosciences in 2017.

Stanley Riddell, M.D.

Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
Seattle, WA

Dr. Riddell graduated from the University of Manitoba with his M.D. in 1979, going on to complete his residency in internal medicine and a fellowship in hematology at the same institution. He is currently scientific director of the Immunotherapy Integrated Research Center at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center and professor in the School of Medicine at the University of Washington, both in Seattle, WA. In the 1990s, he and his colleagues performed the first studies of T-cell therapy to block life-threatening reactivation of cytomegalovirus after allogeneic hematopoietic stem cell transplantation. This work provided the proof-of-principle that antigen-specific T cells can be used in humans to boost T cell immunity to a virus and paved the way for studies using T-cell therapy to treat cancer. Dr. Riddell’s lab continues to focus on establishing the principles for the safe and effective use of T-cell immunotherapy to treat cancer. Demonstrations in preclinical models that naïve and specific memory T cell subsets can have superior persistence and efficacy after adoptive transfer informed new methods to rapidly isolate defined cell populations for clinical trials using T cells modified with specific chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) or T cell receptors (TCRs).

Sean Sanders, Ph.D.

Washington, DC

Dr. Sanders did his undergraduate training at the University of Cape Town, South Africa, and his Ph.D. at the University of Cambridge, UK, supported by the Wellcome Trust. Following postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health and Georgetown University, Dr. Sanders joined TranXenoGen, a startup biotechnology company in Massachusetts working on avian transgenics. Pursuing his parallel passion for writing and editing, Dr. Sanders joined BioTechniques as an editor, before joining Science/AAAS in 2006. Currently, Dr. Sanders is the Director and Senior Editor for Custom Publishing for the journal Science and Program Director for Outreach.

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