Accelerating blood cell and gene therapy research

9 November 2022

Researchers at The University of Queensland have received valuable research funding to unlock the cancer-curing potential of blood cell and gene therapies (CGT’s).

CGT’s are considered to be the next game-changing medical treatment with their ability to repair or replace damaged cells or tissue.

Dr Mark Allenby from the School of Chemical Engineering received a Ramaciotti Health Investment Grant to accelerate early works in generating bioreactors to make CGT technology more accessible.

“This project aims to engineer new blood CGT manufacturing systems, called bioreactors, which serve to grow cells in an environment like they would grow in the body,” Dr Allenby said.

“Blood CGT’s have the ability to save lives by treating over 70 diseases, such as childhood leukemia, sickle cell disease, and many other autoimmune diseases, however, the current costs for this treatment are prohibitively expensive.”

The grant is awarded to support biomedical research in Australia with the potential path to clinical application within five years.

“We aim to produce a proof-of-principle perfusion bioreactor for high-density and low-cost Hematopoietic Stem and Progenitor Cell (HSPC) expansion to make these treatments commonplace, ” Dr Allenby said.

“We are thankful to the Perpetual philanthropic foundation and the Ramaciotti family for making these funds available.”

The research team are collaborating with the Mater Hospital, Australian Red Cross Lifeblood, and Queensland University of Technology’s Centre for Biomedical Technologies, and will be recruiting for researchers in early 2023.

Enquiries: Dr Mark Allenby