CAR-T Cancer Research

"Every parent, caregiver and family member of a child with cancer wonders if that next breakthrough in medical science will happen."

It’s a big number; however it is now the survival rate for children with blood cancer who have received the ground breaking CAR-T (Chimeric Antigen Receptor Therapy) treatment.

The Women’s & Children’s Hospital Foundation is supporting research being conducted out of our own Women’s and Children’s Hospital raising funds to advance this research so that one day CAR-T will be available to a broad range of cancers. The research we are supporting is being managed by the Cooperative Research Centre for Cell Therapy Manufacturing (CRC), and led by Professor Simon Barry. 

CAR-T is a form of immunotherapy that simply put, takes cells from a cancer patient, reprograms them and puts them back into the patient’s body.  The replaced cells then seek out and kill the cancer cells wherever and whenever they appear.


How was the revolutionary CAR-T treatment found and how does it work?

Recently, Professor Michael Jensen, a great friend of TeamKids and a leader in the field of cancer immunotherapy research, visited Adelaide to talk more with staff from the hospital, TeamKids and our supporters about this exciting research project and the importance of implementing it here in South Australia.

Professor Jensen is the founding director of the Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at the Seattle Children's Research Institute. Click below to see a video presentation about CAR-T.

TeamKids Easter Appeal Young Ambassador Lauren Krelshem was one of the first patients in Australia to receive the revolutionary CAR-T treatment; and after 14 years of relapses, bone marrow transplants and painful, drawn out treatments, Lauren is now cancer free – in permanent remission!

CAR-T is not currently available in Australia so Lauren had to go to a hospital in Melbourne and have her cells sent over to a lab in Philadelphia in order to receive this life saving treatment. A year on and Lauren is still cancer free.

“…I was told I needed palliative care. That didn’t seem right to me. I was only 20 years old. I had dreams and ambitions. There were so many things I still wanted to do. Call it fate, but the CAR-T trial started when I was all out of options…. The CAR-T treatment eliminated cancer from my body.”

CAR-T saved Lauren’s life and TeamKids want to bring this treatment here. Through the support you provide to the WCH Foundation you could help save more lives in the future and perhaps play a part in curing cancer in our lifetime!

The more funds we have, the more researchers can work on the CAR-T research project, the faster we can make progress. So please help TeamKids, the team at the CRC and Women’s and Children’s Hospital and donate now.

With your help we may be able to find the sure for cancer in our lifetime!

To find out more or to support this research, contact:

Mark Colley - General Manager, Marketing & Commercial
08 8464 7900





Position statement from the CEO of the Women’s and Children’s Health Network (WCHN)
Car-T research has shown significant outcomes in relation to trials conducted on patients with leukaemia. It has shown that 90% of participants in that clinical trial have gone into remission. This trial evidences that Car-T can effectively destroy leukaemia cells. The success of the clinical trial results from the identification of a unique molecule found on leukaemia cells called CD-19. From existing literature, WCHN researchers have identified similar molecules that exist on a broader range of cancer cells, which it believes can be used as targets for Car-T cells. It is actively building biological constructs to target these cells. If successful in targeting these cancerous cells with Car-T cells, it is reasonable to believe similar levels of remission will occur in these other forms of cancer.
In terms of the specific research that the WCHN is conducting it is considered early stage research. This means that it will take many years to complete. It will proceed through a number of different stages. To pass through from one stage to the next stage it will need to be shown to work in the earlier stages.  The first stage, which is occurring now, is laboratory based and focused on constructing the cells to underpin the delivery of the therapy. If successful, the cells will need to be tested in animal studies. In the first instance the cells are likely to be tested in mice. These animal studies will allow WCHN researchers to assess whether the research is effective as a treatment in a living system. If it is shown to be successful in the animal studies it can then be assessed in human beings. This will occur in a series of human clinical trials.  This work is complex and likely to take over 10 years to complete.