Children’s Hospital LA Receives $6M for CAR T-Cell Therapy

The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) has awarded Children’s Hospital Los Angeles a multi-year $6 million grant to pioneer stem cell therapies for children and adolescents with recurring solid tumors. The Cancer and Blood Disease Institute (CBDI) at the hospital is renowned for its leadership in pediatric cancer care and research.

Children’s Hospital Los Angeles (CHLA) is pioneering innovative stem cell therapies to address the challenges of recurrent solid tumors in children and young adults. With limited treatment options for tumors like sarcomas and neuroblastomas, the survival rates remain low, emphasizing the urgent need for alternative therapies. Chemotherapy and radiation, conventional treatments for these tumors, offer limited success rates and often lead to severe side effects.

Recognizing the necessity for novel approaches, CHLA researchers are focusing on utilizing the patient’s immune cells to combat childhood cancers. The recent $6 million grant from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) will support CHLA’s efforts to advance chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy for solid tumors. This approach involves modifying a patient’s own T cells to specifically target and destroy cancer cells while sparing healthy tissue.

Lead researcher Shahab Asgharzadeh, MD, highlights the potential of CAR T-cell therapy to revolutionize the treatment landscape for solid tumors, building upon its success in blood cancers. By targeting specific immune markers on cancer cells, such as B7H3, researchers aim to enhance the precision and effectiveness of CAR T-cell therapy. The ultimate goal is to develop a therapy that not only improves survival rates but also minimizes adverse effects on healthy tissues.

The CIRM grant will enable CHLA researchers to establish protocols for clinical trials, paving the way for future advancements in cancer treatment. This grant underscores CHLA’s commitment to translating cutting-edge research into innovative therapies that benefit patients.

This collaboration between CHLA and CIRM represents a significant step forward in the fight against childhood cancers. By harnessing the power of stem cell therapy and immunotherapy, CHLA aims to improve outcomes for children and young adults facing recurrent solid tumors.

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