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UAE cancer research: Abu Dhabi successfully manufactures CAR T-cells in first-of-its-kind lab experiment

Wam/Abu Dhabi
Filed on September 29, 2021

(Alamy image)

Soon, the UAE will be able to begin clinical trials to prove the safety and effectiveness of CAR T-cell therapy in treating blood cancers

Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Centre (ADSCC) has successfully completed the first experiment of its kind in the UAE to locally manufacture CAR T-cells in a laboratory.

The UAE is now one step closer to beginning clinical trials to prove the safety and effectiveness of CAR (chimeric antigen receptor) T-cell therapy in treating blood cancers.

Dr Yendry Ventura Carmenate, immunology specialist, general manager of ADSCC and principal investigator of the CAR T-cell clinical trial, said: “During our 12-day experiment, we are happy to report that we have successfully manufactured and expanded autologous CAR T-cells from a healthy volunteer in partnership with Miltenyi Biotec."

"Most significantly, we have been able to achieve the cells’ expansion with the highest levels of quality control and productivity, attaining a higher-than-average cell count with no contamination.

Dr Yendry added that the result is 'highly encouraging'.

"It demonstrates that it is possible to efficiently manufacture CAR T-cells that exceed acceptable standards of purity, viability and cell dosage for clinical application.”

In this first experiment, researchers at ADSCC combined their in-house expertise with cutting-edge technology to closely monitor, synthesise, and facilitate the rapid yield of functional CAR T-cells.

At this initial stage, the primary objective was to validate the technology and ensure standardisation as the homegrown research institute prepares to enter the next stage of clinical trials.

Dr. Fatema Al Kaabi, director of the Abu Dhabi Bone Marrow Transplant Programme and co-principal investigator of the CAR T-cell clinical trial, said: “This amazing result was achieved through the effective combination of our leading team of stem cell researchers and technicians at ADSCC and the highly specialised technology and know-how provided by our partners at Miltenyi Biotec."

"We are entering an exciting phase in our journey to build the UAE’s first CAR T-cell treatment programme and give hope to patients suffering from various haematologic cancers. We look forward to sharing more progress updates as we prepare to enter clinical trials.”

CAR T-cell therapy represents a new, internationally recognised form of immunotherapy that harnesses the body’s defence system by reprogramming T-cells, a crucial component in the body’s anti-tumour response, to go on search-and-destroy missions to kill cancer.

These reprogrammed cells become a living drug that mobilises through the body, continually tapping the immune system to attack disease.





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