Fundamental Advances for CAR T and other engineered T cell therapies 

Technology Overview

Rimas OrentasDr. Rimas Orentas’ research focuses on developing immune-based approaches for treating childhood cancer. Molecular engineering of T lymphoocyes using lentiviral-based gene vectors is a powerful and direct means to generate novel chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)T and T cell receptor (TCR)-engineered cells that have the ability to recognize and eliminate tumor cells. With years of experience in both academic and industry settings, his research program focuses on immunotherapy for pediatric cancers, especially solid tumors such as rhabdomyosarcoma, osteosarcoma, and neuroblastoma. His group is using genomic analysis of both tumors and T cells to improve the effectiveness of T cell-based therapy. This includes identifying new, cell-surface-localized CAR T cell targets, as well as finding and characterizing factors that create an immune-exclusionary microenvironment around tumors. Dr. Orentas is also working on clinically-relevant gene expression control systems in order to increase the ability to expand or contract and eliminate effector CAR T cell populations.

Dr. Orentas is also the director for scientific integration at CureWorks, a nonprofit network of children’s hospitals focused on immunotherapy for pediatric cancers (www.CureWorks.org). Cureworks’ goal is to expand immunotherapy trials and global patient access, as well as to share data and collective expertise to advance novel cell therapies. The Ben Towne Center for Childhood Cancer Research at SCRI is a world leader in CAR T cell therapy, and is generating CAR T cells for CureWorks clinical trials in its GMP facility.

In addition to his work in immuno-oncology, Dr. Orentas has expertise in graft versus host disease, cancer vaccines, and has a long-standing interest in developing in vivo gene therapies. He would be interested in connecting with potential industry partners that are involved in the development of new immunotherapies for pediatric cancers, companies developing new approaches to engineer lymphocytes populations, and new ways to control the target specificity and duration of the CAR-T cell population in vivo.

Stage of Development

 

  • Preclinical in vivo
  • Preclinical in vitro
  • Preclinical ex vivo

 

Partnering Opportunities

 

  • Collaborative research agreements
  • Sponsored research agreements
  • Platform testing for CAR T cell generation

 

Publications

  1. Long AH, Haso WM, Shern JF, Wanhainen KM, Murgai M, Ingaramo M, Smith JP, Walker AJ, Kohler ME, Venkateshwara VR, Kaplan RN, Patterson GH, Fry TJ, Orentas RJ, Mackall CL. 4-1BB costimulation ameliorates T cell exhaustion induced by tonic signaling of chimeric antigen receptors. Nature Medicine. 2015; 21: 581-590.
  2. Haso W, Lee DW, Shah NN, Stetler-Stevenson M, Yuan CM, Pastan IH, Dimitrov DS, Morgan RA, FitzGerald DJ, Barrett DM, Wayne AS, Mackall CL, Orentas RJ. Anti-CD22-chimeric antigen receptors targeting B cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Blood. 2013; 121:1165-1174.

Learn More

To learn more about partnering with Seattle Children’s Research Institute on this or other projects, please contact:

Dr. Elizabeth Aylward, Director 
Office of Science-Industry Partnerships 
Seattle Children’s Research Institute 
818 Stewart Street, Suite 603
Seattle, WA 98101
Email
206-884-1065