Research project on CAR-T cells for hematological malignancies and solid tumors

  • Ammontare finanziato:

    10 milioni €

    Erogata da Ministero della Salute

  • Durata:

    2 anni

    Avvio: 27 Novembre 2019


The development of genetically modified T lymphocytes redirected to the tumor target through the expression on the cell surface of a Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR), has been a true revolution in the field of immunotherapy for the treatment of Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). Unfortunately, despite significant efficacy, CAR-T cells have been associated with a suboptimal safety profile, since severe, sometimes life-threatening or even fatal toxicities have been reported in patients with B-cell neoplasms given CAR-T cells. Moreover, the clinical outcome of the few patients with solid tumors or hematological malignancies other than B-lymphoproliferative disorders has been less encouraging. For this reason, the CAR-T research project aims to improve the effectiveness of CAR-T cell therapy, through the creation of a collaborative network joining the expertise of the different participating Institutions. The project is articulated on 6 different Work Packages (WP), each with well-defined objectives.

Work Packages

Le fasi del progetto nelle sue 6 differenti articolazioni

  • Work Package 1

    Coordination; development of an automatic production chain for CAR-T cells and of novel approaches for manufacturing CAR cells immediately available and/or less costly.

  • Work Package 2

    Identification of new targets selectively expressed on neoplastic cells and compatible with the clinical use of CAR-T.

  • Work Package 3

    Preclinical development of CAR-killer cells against novel cancer targets, both in solid tumors and hematologic diseases other than B-cell neoplasms.

  • Work Package 4

    Novel strategies to increase activation, expansion, survival, tissue penetration, cytotoxicity and monitoring of CAR expressing cells.

  • Work Package 5

    Strategies to improve the safety profile of CAR-T cells.

  • Work Package 6

    Legal aspects and intellectual property.

Project coordinator

Franco Locatelli

The scientific coordination was assigned to Prof. Franco Locatelli, Director of the Department of Oncohematology and Cellular Therapy and Genetics of the Ospedale Pediatrico Bambino Gesù.