ACGT awards $500,000 grant to advance strategies for treating solid tumors

With a $500,000 Research Grant from Alliance for Cancer Gene Therapy (ACGT), Sidi Chen, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Genetics and Systems Biology Institute at Yale School of Medicine and member of Yale Cancer Center, will advance a versatile and highly scalable strategy he's been developing and calling MAEGI -- Multiplexed Activation of Endogenous Genes as an Immunotherapy.

"Cell and gene therapies that leverage the natural power of the immune system are extending lives and improving quality of lives," says Dr. Chen. "A number of approaches are being tested and employed today. All of them offer promise in the fight against solid tumors, but none are perfect."

The ACGT Scientific Advisory Council finds Dr. Chen's MAEGI technology to be unique and exciting because it simultaneously targets multiple differences and activates multiple immune system responses. It has proven to be very effective in animal models. We believe our support will enable its advancement into the clinic where it would have major, life-saving impact on pancreatic and other difficult-to-treat cancers, such as melanoma, glioblastoma and triple negative breast cancer."

Kevin Honeycutt, CEO and President of ACGT

ACGT has been instrumental in funding some of the decade's most transformative research, including breakthroughs in the use of CAR T-cell gene therapy for leukemia by the University of Pennsylvania's Carl H. June, MD. "Dr. June received his first ACGT grant in 2004 and a second in 2008, back when gene therapy was considered a risky proposition," says Honeycutt. "Fast forward to today and the field has changed dramatically with major pharmaceutical companies and research institutions vying for the next big discovery using gene therapy or immunotherapy."

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