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."

Professor Michael Jensen MD, Seattle Children's Hospital

CAR-T Immunotherapy Cancer

Research Project

The Women's and Children's Hospitals (WCH) world class researchers are continually searching to develop new treatments and diagnostic methods for a variety of diseases and better health outcomes for our community.

Through the generosity of South Australians, the Women's & Children's Hospital Foundation (WCH Foundation) funds over a million dollars each year at the WCH for medical research.

Led by Professor Simon Barry in partnership with the team and the Cooperative Research Centre (CRC). The WCH Foundation is raising funds in support of a new immunotherapy research project targeting a treatment for solid cell cancerous tumours.

Known as CAR-T (Chimeric Antigen Receptor Therapy), this research is based on a form of immunotherapy that involves taking a patients existing T-Cells from their body, reprogramming them so that they seek out and destroy cancer cells, and then placing them back in the patient's body.

This treatment has already shown great results in the treatment of blood cancers through trials being conducted in the United States and the WCH Foundation is now working with the WCH to raise funds to advance this form of research so that a treatment can be developed here in South Australia for solid cell tumours.

The WCH Foundation is proud to be supporting such revolutionary ground-breaking research and you too can help us to fund the advancement of this project for faster results. Our goal is that hopefully one day a treatment can be found that can be effectively used on a broad range of cancers.

Do you want to support this ground-breaking research?

For more information, contact the WCH Foundation on:
08 8464 7900 or email

Our CAR-T Research Partners

Professor Simon Barry - Lead Researcher, Women's and Children's Hospital (WCH)

Professor Simon Barry is a molecular biologist and world expert in T-Cell biology. Professor Barry has led the CAR-T immunotherapy cancer research project at the WCH for more than three years.

Read more about Professor Simon Barry here.

Cooperative Research Centre for Cell Therapy Manufacturing (CRC)

The CRC is an international collaboration of 16 participant organisations spanning industry, clinicians, healthcare and research providers. Cell-based immunotherapies have gained considerable attention due to recent positive clinical results in blood-borne tumours. 

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.