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UZH Innovation Hub

Thomas Look

A virus-free platform for the rapid generation of multifunctional CAR immune cells

CAR T cell therapy is a powerful cancer immunotherapy, where T cells are engineered to express a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) to specifically kill tumor cells expressing the respective target antigen. However, the broad clinical application of CAR T cells against various cancers is limited by long manufacturing processes, safety concerns due to persistent gene manipulations associated with viral vector-based approaches, and limited efficacy due to heterogeneously expressed target antigens, poor tumor infiltration and an immunosuppressive tumor microenvironment.

Thomas Look and his team address these limitations by the preclinical development and clinical implementation of an innovative non-viral platform for the rapid generation of multifunctional CAR immune cells with effective anti-tumor activity. This platform enables rapid production processes and enhanced safety and activity of modified immune cells.

Major objectives during the Entrepreneur Fellowship are to identify proprietary immune cell modifications that yield the highest anti-tumor potential of multifunctional CAR immune cells and that ensure most cost- and time-efficient manufacturing.

Affiliation: Dr. Tobias Weiss

Start date: 04/2023

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Thomas Look