UCL/UCLH second in the world and top in Europe for CAR T research activity 

01/05/2019 00:00 
UCL ranks second in the world and top in Europe for the number of inventions and patent applications made in relation to the revolutionary new cancer treatment CAR T-cell therapy – key markers of CAR T research activity at UCL and UCLH.

Analysis published in the April 2019 edition of Nature Biotechnology also shows that UCL and UCLH’s Dr Martin Pule is the third most prolific inventor of CAR T technology in the world.

Considering Europe alone, UCL has filed 117 CAR T-related patents, ahead of Germany’s Forschungsinstitut Georg-Speyer-Haus (14 patents) and the University of Koln (10).

While patents are held by UCL, clinical testing is done at UCLH and Great Ormond Street Hospital.

CAR T-cell therapy is a form of treatment for patients who do not respond to standard anti-cancer treatments like chemotherapy, and has been shown in trials to cure some patients, even those with advanced cancers. UCLH consultant Prof Emma Morris has said the therapy represents 'a real step change in how we treat cancers'.

In CAR T therapy, T-cells – part of our immune system which normally kill infected cells – are taken from a person’s blood sample, grown in the laboratory and ‘re-programmed’ to recognise and kill cancer cells just as they would naturally attack an infected cell. This reprogramming is achieved by introducing a gene for an artificial protein called a chimeric antigen receptor, or CAR for short.

Earlier this month the BRC launched an animated film for GCSE and A level students to explain the therapy. TED-Ed, the youth and education arm of the company which organises TED Talks, hosts the film.

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