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The Centre for Blood Transplant and Cell Therapy

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Australian Chief Investigators: Professor David Gottlieb (Westmead Hospital and Uni of Sydney), Professor David Ritchie (Royal Melbourne Hospital and Uni of Melbourne), Associate Professor David Curtis (The Alfred Hospital and Monash Uni) and Dr Siok Tey (Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital and QIMR Berghofer)

International Chief Investigators: Professor Bruce Blazar (Icahn Centre for Science and Medicine, Mt Sinai, USA) and Professor James Ferrara (The Uni of Minnesota, USA)

Funding period: 2018-2023

This project is kindly supported through the Rebecca Gumley Memorial Fund; and the Estate of Florence Brown.

The CBTCT is a newly funded Centre of Research Excellence (CRE) endorsed by the National Health and Medical Research Council (NH&MRC) to develop a world class, multi-centre approach to design and deliver improved therapies for people with blood cancers.

The Leukaemia Foundation is a major partner and the only non-government organisation to support this project with the overall aims to meet the urgent need for new treatment approaches to:

  • better prevent and treat graft versus host disease (GVHD)
  • maintain and/or augment immunity to leukaemia.

The CBTCT aims are to:

  • generating new knowledge in the fields of transplant immunology and cell therapy that translate to improved patient outcomes within five years
  • improving transplant outcomes nationally and internationally by transferring new preclinical paradigms that address the management of GVHD into clinical practice
  • introducing gene-modified suicide gene and chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell products across Australia
  • developing the careers of basic researchers, clinicians and allied health practitioners by generating an Australia-wide clinical and scientific interdisciplinary framework that provides training and education programs
  • providing national and international networks that ensure improved collaboration and providing the infrastructure for new multi-disciplinary approaches spanning haematology, immunology, microbiology and genomics
  • gaining insights into research advances, novel treatments, quality of life and self-care opportunities via an Australian hub for patients, consumer advocates and cancer organisations to engage with basic researchers, clinicians and allied health practitioners
  • identifying commercial opportunities to develop novel diagnostics and therapies based on preclinical and biomarker discoveries
  • working with industry partners to identify novel therapeutic options for the bone marrow and stem cell transplant community.

Prevention studies that will investigate new therapies for GVHD and relapse include a pilot study, a Phase I, a Phase I/II, and two Phase III randomised trials. There also are treatment studies with three early Phase I, a Phase I/II, and a Phase III trial.

The Chief Australian Investigators – Professor David Gottlieb, Professor David Ritchie, Associate Professor David Curtis and Dr Siok Tey – are world leaders in transplant research. The international Chief Investigators on the team are Professor Bruce Blazar and Professor James Ferrara.

This research, and clinical trials, will be conducted at the bone marrow/stem cell transplant (BMT/SCT) units in Brisbane (Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital), Sydney (Westmead Hospital) and Melbourne (Royal Melbourne Hospital, The Alfred Hospital), with involvement from the BMT/SCT units in Adelaide and Perth.

CBTCT’s scientific partners are Queensland Institute of Medical Research, University of Sydney, University of Melbourne and Monash University in Australia, and the international centres are the University of Minnesota and Icahn Centre for Science and Medicine at Mt Sinai in New York, both in the U.S.