There is currently no successful treatment for patients with recurrent/treatment-resistant brain cancers, specifically glioblastoma (GBM). Partnering with the University of Toronto and collaborators at McMaster University, Empirica has used genomic screening technology to identify CD133 as a promising target for effective treatment using Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR)-T cell therapy. The overall goal of the project is to design, genetically engineer and validate next-generation CD133 CAR-T cells that can be manufactured “off-the-shelf,” and thus are less costly and less susceptible to immune suppression.
As one of the most aggressive cancer types, with inevitable recurrence, the global GBM market was US $416.8 million in 2015 and is forecasted to reach US $1.15 billion by 2024 as the global population increases. In Canada, costs of cancer care have been steadily on the rise, and this project aims to provide more effective and universal treatments for recurrent GBM that can alleviate this economic burden and provide patients with improved treatment options.