Translational Cancer Immunotherapy

The Translational Cancer Immunotherapy Laboratory studies the interaction between the immune response and tumour control, with a particular emphasis on translating our ever-expanding basic science knowledge into clinically applicable therapeutic platforms.

Our lab has a long-standing interest in bone marrow transplantation (BMT), which is the most established form of cancer immunotherapy, but it is associated with life-threatening complications, primarily graft-versus-host disease (GVHD) and infections. A new and increasing focus of our lab is the related field of cellular immunotherapy, especially Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cell therapy, which are gene-modified immune cells that have shown to be very effective in eradicating certain cancers. Our lab is one of only a few groups in Australia capable of conducting investigator-driven clinical trials using gene-modified immune cells generated in-house.


  • Developing new Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T cell therapy for the treatment of cancers, including new targets and new methods to regulate CAR T cell function
  • Establishing a capacity to generate clinical grade CAR T cells in-house to facilitate translation into early-phase clinical trials
  • Understanding the impact of CAR T cell therapy on broader immune landscape, including the non-CAR T cell compartment
  • Investigating novel approaches for the treatment of graft-versus-host disease following bone marrow transplantation. This includes a phase I clinical trial using gene-marked regulatory T cells (Tregs) for the treatment of chronic graft-versus-host disease
  • Investigating the interplay between cytokines and cytomegalovirus infection on anti-leukaemic immunity and graft-versus-host disease in bone marrow transplantation


  • Dr Andrea Henden, Research Officer and Clinician Scientist
  • Mabel Tan, Research Assistant
  • Alda Saldan, PhD Student
  • Adaeze Ekwe, PhD Student
  • Benedict Loweke, Research Assistant/Student
  • Michael Reynolds, Student
  • Pheh Chang, Research Officer

Internal Collaborators

External Collaborators

  • Professor Geoffrey Hill, Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center
  • Associate Professor Glen Kennedy, Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital
  • Professor David Gottlieb, Westmead Hospital and University of Sydney
  • Professor Mariapia Degli Esposti and Dr Christopher Andoniou, Monash University
  • Associate Professor Joseph Powell, Garvan Institute of Medical Research
  • Professor Stephen Rose and Dr Simon Puttick, CSIRO
  • Associate Professor John Miles, James Cook University
  • National Health and Medical Research Council
  • Leukaemia Foundation
  • Cancer Council Queensland
  • Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital Foundation
  • Children’s Hospital Foundation
  • Chimera Legacy Foundation


CAR T cells – redirecting T cells for cancer immunotherapy

Suitable for Honours and PhD students Chimeric Antigen Receptors (CARs) are genetically engineered molecules that can redirect T cells to recognise particular antigens, such as those expressed by cancer cells. T cells that are transduced by CAR targeting CD19 have been effective in treating B cell cancers, e.g. B-cell leukaemia and lymphoma, where conventional treatments […]

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