Immunotherapy research programs across Geisel have been at the forefront of efforts to mobilize the immune system to fight disease and to build the molecular platforms that have been essential to the success of new therapies. Today, our faculty are pioneering the identification of new immune system targets, creating and testing new ways of activating the immune system, and pursuing strategies to induce long-term immunity to life-threatening diseases. New philanthropic support will fuel discovery and clinical translation within one of Geisel’s most successful and high-potential areas of innovation.
Goal: $10 million
“Immune cells are good at recognizing things that are really different,” explains Geisel immunologist Charles Sentman, PhD. “But tumors are basically normal cells that grow too much, so they don’t look that different to our immune system.” To solve this problem, Sentman and his collaborators at the Geisel School of Medicine and Dartmouth’s Thayer School of Engineering have designed a new line of immune cells—chimeric antigen receptor T cells (CAR-T cells)—that attack tumor cells. While many institutions and companies are developing CAR-T cells for specific cancers, Sentman’s target 80–90% of all types of tumor cells. His first line of CAR-T cells are currently in clinical trials for seven different kinds of cancer.