Doctoral fellow - laboratory of Tom Taghon (Department of Diagnostic Sciences, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, UGent)
Principal investigator: prof. Tom Taghon (PhD)
CAR T cell therapy has taken over the world of immuno-oncology in the last decade as an innovative way of targeting cancer. The therapy consists of modulating the patients’ own T cells to express a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) that recognizes the tumor residing in the patients body. Although many success stories have been described, the therapy still faces challenges due to issues related to production and quality.
Within my research, I aim to generate universal off-the-shelf CAR T cells that help to overcome current limitations. To achieve this, I will optimize an in vitro differentiation system in which induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) are differentiated towards T cells. A CAR will be inserted at the iPSCs level and the generated CAR T cells will be further validated via in vitro and in vivo functional assays. This project thus can aid in the development of an enhanced CAR T cell production platform to decrease the costs and accelerate the availability of the cell therapy product.