This project, led by Dr Alla Dolnikov also at the Children’s Cancer Institute, is researching a new way to make CAR T therapy more effective in treating neuroblastoma tumours by suppressing the MYC oncogene. Currently CAR T therapy which is seen as a promising way of using the body’s own immune system to tackle cancer cells has not worked on neuroblastoma tumours.  But the award-winning research looks like there could be a way of changing this.

Using MYC inhibitors to potentiate CART cell therapy for neuroblastoma

Current therapies for high-risk neuroblastoma are ineffective and leave devastating side effects due to the toxicity of the treatment. There is an urgent need for novel therapeutic approaches to more effectively treat these children.
A promising new approach is Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy, currently used in some types of leukaemia, which programs a child’s immune cells (known as T cells) to destroy the cancer cells.
“This strategy has traditionally proved to be ineffective in children with neuroblastoma as the MYC oncogene (a gene that leads to poor patient survival), which is activated in high-risk neuroblastoma, acts to suppress the immune cells,” explained Dr Dolnikov.
Dr Alla Dolnikov and her team at Children’s Cancer Institute have identified a drug that acts as an inhibitor to the MYC oncogene, opening up the potential of the immune cells to fight the tumour.

This is an exciting discovery that that will hopefully lead to the development of a novel therapy using this drug that will mean that we can apply CAR-T cell therapy more effectively in children with high-risk neuroblastoma. It will provide a more effective and less toxic way to treat this devastating childhood cancer. Dr Dolnikov

More information