Accelerating Research from Bench to Bedside

CAR T (Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cell) therapy, an immunotherapy that harnesses the body’s own T cells to kill cancer cells, showed success in treating blood cancers, but its application to solid tumors had been more challenging.

Enter NETRF. In 2014, NETRF initiated a collaboration with Drs. Xianxin Hua, David Metz, and Carl June, and urged them to study CAR T in NETs. NETRF’s financial backing included an initial award in 2014 followed by a Petersen Accelerator Award in 2018. Together, the researchers identified CDH17 as a promising target for CAR T cell therapy against NETs.

“This is a critical step forward in developing an entirely new CAR T therapy for GI-cancers and neuroendocrine tumors, providing new hope for the cancer patients who are refractory to the existing therapies,” Xianxin Hua, MD, PhD, Professor of Cancer Biology at the University of Pennsylvania’s Perelman School of Medicine.

Thanks to NETRF’s strategic support in the pre-clinical stage, a first-in-human CAR T cell therapy clinical trial for neuroendocrine tumors (NETs) and GI cancers will open in 2024. This milestone – achieved in just 10 years – demonstrates NETRF’s impact on the NET research landscape by supporting early high-risk, high-reward science to develop new treatments.