Hudson Institute of Medical Research

BACKGROUND BRIEFING: The race to cure cancer by harnessing the body’s immune system is on

Embargoed until: Publicly released:

*BRIEFING RECORDING NOW AVAILABLE* The American Society of Clinical Oncology recently named CAR T immunotherapy - which uses a gene-editing technology called CRISPR to genetically reprogram a patient's own immune cells - the 2018 Advance of the Year. But CAR T treatment has been prohibitively expensive, until now. Aussie firm Cartherics has filed a patent on its own CAR T-cell immunotherapy, which should reduce the cost ten-fold. Join us for this online briefing, which coincides with the Eradicate Cancer Conference in Melbourne to hear from a leading US cancer expert and the CEO of Cartherics.

Journal/conference: Eradicate Cancer 2018

Organisation/s: Hudson Institute of Medical Research

Media Briefing/Press Conference

From: Australian Science Media Centre

The race is on to develop affordable, off-the-shelf treatments that harness the body’s immune system to kill cancers, and Australia is leading the pack.

Cartherics is an Aussie firm that’s filed a patent on its off-the-shelf CAR T-cell immunotherapy, with the aim of trialling the treatment in the next three years. The American Society of Clinical Oncology recently named CAR T the 2018 Advance of the Year.

Cartherics CAR T uses a gene-editing technology called CRISPR to genetically reprogram a patient's own immune cells, enhancing the body’s ability to fight cancer.

Two other immunotherapeutic products have already been approved in the US, so what’s special about Cartherics CAR T? Those other treatments must be tailored to individuals, which makes them prohibitively expensive – up to US$450,000 per patient. The off-the-shelf nature of Cartherics CAR T should reduce that cost ten-fold.

Immunotherapy is the biggest emerging trend in cancer therapy; already, patients at the end of their treatment options, some with virtually no hope of survival, have described ‘melting' their cancer away within months of receiving this type of treatment.

This briefing coincides with the Eradicate Cancer Conference being held at the Melbourne Convention Centre from 15 March. Join us to hear from Professor Irving Weissman, internationally acclaimed cancer biologist from Stanford University and Professor Alan Trounson, well known stem cell scientist and CEO of Cartherics,


* Irv Weissman is Professor of Pathology and Developmental Biology at Stanford University, Member Stanford Cancer Institute, and Co-Director of the Stanford Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. He is a leading expert in the fields of cancer stem cell biology and immunotherapy.

* Alan Trounson is CEO and Executive Director of Cartherics, an Australian company formed through a partnership between Monash University, Hudson Institute of Medical Research, and Monash Health. He is also Emeritus Professor, Monash University and Distinguished Scientist, Hudson Institute of Medical Research.  From 2007-2014, he was President of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the state’s $3 billion stem cell agency driving research in stem cell biology and facilitating the translation of stem cell discoveries into clinical therapies.

Date: Thursday 15 March 2018
Start time: 9.40am AEDT
Duration: Approx 30 min
Venue: Online

Journalists can follow the briefing online via audio and video streaming. Each presenter will speak for 5-7 minutes followed by questions. Journalists will have the opportunity to ask questions online.

1. Go to the briefing web portal by clicking here 5 minutes before the start time or anytime during the briefing.
2. Enter your name and email address
3. Click "Join".
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1. For phone only access please call: 02 8518 1927.
2. Enter access code 570 951 973#. Wait for the prompt and press #.
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If you have any problems joining the briefing online, phone Webex on 1800 493 239 quoting event number 570 951 973.
Video files will be posted here as soon as possible after the event.
For further information, please contact the AusSMC on 08 7120 8666 or email


  • Australian Science Media Centre
    Web page
    Link to briefing recording

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