Liesel Haffner
Liesel Haffner
Liesel Haffner
Helios Scholar
School: Arizona State University
Hometown: Schaumburg, Illinois
Mentor: Nicholas Banovich, Ph.D.
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CAR T Cell Therapy for Glioblastoma

TGen has been working in collaboration with City of Hope to develop a new therapy for glioblastoma patients. In the first stage of the clinical trial, it was found that injecting genetically modified T-cells (CAR T) directly into the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of a glioblastoma patient led to shrinkage of local and distant brain tumors. In the current study to expand on this new finding, several more patients have had CAR T cells injected into their CSF. Of note, it was discovered that an atypically high number of endogenous immune cells were present in the CSF after CAR T therapy. To study this phenomenon, CSF was then extracted from the patients after therapy and sent to TGen. Four patient samples were sequenced via single cell mRNA sequencing (scRNA-Seq), and then analyzed with unsupervised clustering. The cell populations were then identified by examining the mRNA expression profile of each cluster. The next step in this project is to collaborate with an immunologist from the City of Hope in order to quantify the complex interactions of immune cells in CSF. Furthermore, City of Hope will use this data to improve CAR T cell therapy for glioblastoma patients.