Fien Meeus' master thesis 'Assessment of antigen-binding domain parameters important for adequate CAR-T cell activation: evaluating different SLAMF7-targeting nanobodies' was awarded with the price for 'Best Master Thesis Presentation'.
Her thesis focussed on chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T cell therapy, which is a promising type of immunotherapy in which a patient's own T cells are isolated and genetically modified to express a cancer-targeting receptor, termed a CAR. This renders the T cells capable of specific cancer cell killing, so that after reinfusion in the patient's blood they function as a cellular therapy. Classical CARs incorporate an antibody-derived domain as the targeting moiety. In this project, we have generated nanoCAR-T cells, bearing nanobodies as targeting domains instead. These nanobodies were specific for the multiple myeloma-associated antigen SLAMF7. We studied the ability of the generated nanoCAR-T cells to specifically target multiple myeloma cells and evaluated the role of various binding parameters of these nanobodies on the activation of our nanoCAR-T cells.