The Campbell Foundation awarded a new $65,000 grant to Daniel Claiborne, Ph.D., an immunologist and researcher at The Wistar Institute in Philadelphia. Claiborne is re-engineering CAR T-cells to target and kill cells infected with HIV.
Chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy is a way to get immune cells called T cells to fight disease by changing them in the lab. This relatively new approach targets HIV cells to control the virus without medication. T cell immunotherapies offer hope for the treatment of HIV and other chronic diseases.
“Recent advances in the field of genetic engineering have allowed for the creation of T cells that overcome many of the escape mechanisms of viral infections and cancers. In this approach, the T cell is re-directed to target a specific cell type, in this case: an HIV-infected cell,” said Dr. Claiborne, Caspar Wistar Fellow, Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center, in a press release. “Additionally, other signals can be added during the engineering process to make the T cells more potent and to give them different functions relevant to the disease we intend to treat.”
The Campbell Foundation’s Peer Review Board voted unanimously to award the grant to Dr. Claiborne finding it to be “a well-planned series of experiments” as well as “innovative, feasible, rigorous, and relevant,” according to The Campbell Foundation’s Executive Director Ken Rapkin.
The Wistar Institute is the nation’s first independent, nonprofit biomedical research organization. This is the fifth grant that The Campbell Foundation has provided to a Wistar Institute researcher since 1998.
The Fort Lauderdale-based Campbell Foundation was established in 1995 by the late Richard Campbell Zahn as a private, independent, nonprofit foundation dedicated to supporting clinical, laboratory-based research into the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. It focuses its funding on supporting alternative, nontraditional avenues of research. The Campbell Foundation has given away more than $12 million since its inception.