Improving immunotherapy outcomes for patients with aggressive lymphoma and multiple myeloma

Immunotherapy is a bright beacon of hope in the quest for better cancer treatments. CAR-T cell therapy, a form of immunotherapy created through modifying a person’s own T-cells to identify and destroy cancer cells, shows significant promise for patients, clinicians and researchers alike. Yet not all those who receive CAR-T cell treatment respond, and some relapse following treatment.

Assoc Prof Jane Oliaro, at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre, is working to improve the treatment success rate for lymphoma and multiple myeloma patients. Through combining CAR-T cell therapy with a class of anti-cancer drugs called SMAC-mimetics*, it is hoped that more patients will respond positively, are well longer or ultimately, cured.

Assoc Prof Jane Oliaro was the first to show that the combination of CAR-T cell therapy and SMAC-mimetics significantly reduced tumour growth through inducing cancer cell death, as well as increasing T cell spread and survival, which subsequently destroy cancer cells.

Assoc Prof Jane Oliaro is the Grant Recipient of the 2022 Leukemia and Lymphoma Society USA Translational Research Program funded in collaboration with the Snowdome Foundation and Leukaemia Foundation.

* SMAC-mimetics are small molecule anti-cancer drugs that sensitise cancer cells to death-inducing signals produced by the CAR-T cells.