Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

CARAT: New EU project sets out to develop innovative cell manufacturing platform

Contributed by: EURICE – European Research and Project Office GmbH

EU-funded project CARAT aims to deliver new methods to enable the wide use of novel personalized cancer treatment options based on highly innovative cell therapies. Equipped with a total budget of €6 million CARAT aims to integrate innovative cell manufacturing tools and enabling technologies into a new, comprehensive platform that will facilitate the safe, automated, and cost-efficient manufacture of highly effective so-called CAR T-cells.
Cancer is highlighted by the WHO as one of the leading causes of mortality and morbidity. For instance, in Europe alone, more than 50,000 people die of leukaemia every year. In response to this major health issue Miltenyi Biotec coordinates the new EU-funded project CARAT taking on the mission to deliver new methods to enable the wide use of novel personalized cancer treatment options based on highly innovative cell therapies. The project consortium comprises a multi-national team of leading experts from eight European partnering institutions.
Equipped with a total budget of €6 million CARAT aims to integrate innovative cell manufacturing tools and enabling technologies into a new, comprehensive platform that will facilitate the safe, automated, and cost-efficient manufacture of highly effective so-called CAR T-cells.

CAR T-Cell therapy: a revolutionary, highly effective treatment option to cure cancer

Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) are specifically tailored surface receptors that can be introduced into cells of the immune system, especially T-cells, by genetic engineering. They act as recognition molecules like antibodies or T-cell receptors and allow honing of immune responses towards selected targets. T-cells are essential for the human immune system as they scan the human body to eliminate infections and abnormalities. In this respect, CARs are increasingly used for cellular therapy to redirect T-cells specifically towards killing of cancer cells.
Recent success stories of cancer therapies based on these so-called CAR T-Cells have raised enormous scientific and public expectations to cure severely ill patients. In latest studies such T-cell treatments have proven to be very successful; for example, in a clinical trial of a highly aggressive form of acute lymphoblastic leukaemia at the University of Pennsylvania, 89% of children and adults showed no evidence of cancer after receiving a CAR T-cell therapy (Grupp et al., 2013). Consequently, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) designated T-cell treatment in 2014 as a “breakthrough therapy” for relapsed and treatment-resistant acute lymphoblastic leukaemia in adults and children.

However, translation into clinics and broad application of such advanced personalized cell therapy is currently hampered by the technologically complex, costly and error-prone procedure of manufacturing gene-modified T-Cells for each patient individually. “Our vision is to overcome those hurdles and to elevate cellular therapies to the next level of standard-of-care: It will then be possible to generate the most effective CAR-modified T-cell products in a cost-effective and easy-to-handle process that can be readily upscaled and disseminated worldwide”, Dr Andrew Kaiser, scientific coordinator of the CARAT consortium at Miltenyi Biotec, underlines the overall goal of the project. Thereby, CARAT will contribute to empowering Europe into becoming a global leader in the development, delivery and commercialisation of CAR T-cell technologies thus serving patients with so far incurable hematologic malignancies and solid tumours like colon, pancreas or lung cancer.


The partners in CARAT at a glance:
France
Institut Cochin, Institut national de la santé et de la recherche médicale, Paris

Germany
Miltenyi Biotec GmbH, Bergisch Gladbach
Paul-Ehrlich-Institut (Federal Institute for Vaccines and Biomedicines), Langen
Universitätsklinikum Freiburg, Freiburg
European Research and Project Office GmbH, Saarbrücken

Italy
Ospedale San Raffaele, Milan

UK
University College London, London
TrakCel Ltd., Cardiff

Coordinator:
Miltenyi Biotec GmbH
Dr Andrew Kaiser
Email: andrewk@miltenyibiotec.de
Phone: +49 2204 8306 2201

Project details:
Name: CARAT – Chimeric Antigen Receptors (CARs) for Advanced Therapies
Start date: 2016-01-01
Duration: 48 months
Budget: € 5,989,158.75
Coordination: Miltenyi Biotec GmbH, Germany

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    EURICE – European Research and Project Office GmbH
    Science Park 1
    66123 Saarbrücken
    Germany
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Programmes

Countries (4)

  • Germany, France, Italy, United Kingdom

Keywords

Immunology, Cancer, Cancer Treatment, Tools, Technologies, Biotechnology, Health
Record Number: 130415 / Last updated on: 2016-01-27
Category: New products and technologies
Provider: WIRE
Revision: 0