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University Hospital of Würzburg, Germany

Partner Description

The Universitätsklinikum Würzburg (UKW) is the major academic clinical center in the ‘heart of Germany’, situated in the northern part of Bavaria. UKW comprises 19 clinical centers, three policlinics and four clinical institutes that cover the entire spectrum of clinical medicine and provides passionate, beyond state-of-the-art care for over 330,000 in- and out-patients per year. In imSAVAR, UKW is represented by the translational research group ‘CAR-T Engineering’ led by Michael Hudecek. The Hudecek lab is part of the Department of Internal Medicine II and closely connected to the Comprehensive Cancer Center (CCC) Mainfranken and the interdisciplinary study center with the Early Clinical Trial Unit (ECTU).

UKW and the Department of Internal Medicine II have a more than decade long track record in cellular and antibody-based immunotherapy for malignant and infectious diseases. The Department Chair, Professor Hermann Einsele is a pioneer of adoptive T cell therapy to treat viral and fungal infections in the context of allogeneic bone marrow transplantation and world-renown expert in multiple myeloma. In imSAVAR, UKW will contribute their expertise in translational research in cancer immunotherapy with gene-engineered chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells, bi-specific antibodies; first-in-man application and early phase clinical testing of novel cancer immunotherapies. The Hudecek lab provides several cutting-edge cell products and technologies, along with unique in vitro and in vivo test platforms that comprise microphysiologic 3D tissue and tumor models (Wallstabe et al JCI Insight 2019; together with Department of Tissue Engineering and Regenerative Medicine), and advanced super-resolution imaging of tissue and tumor receptome (Nerreter et al. Nat Comm 2019; together with Department of Biophysics). Further, the Hudecek lab has developed multiple proprietary strategies to enhance the safety (and efficacy) of cancer immunotherapy, including a remote control to steer the function of CAR-T cell in vivo (Mestermann et al. Sci Transl Med 2019) and sophisticated virus-free gene-transfer strategies (Querques et al. Nat Biotechnol 2019).

The Hudecek lab provides a rich national and international network to other key opinion leaders in cancer immunotherapy, biotech and major industry, patient stakeholders, health care practitioners, regulators and policy makers to help achieve the ambitious aims in imSAVAR. The UKW PI, Michael Hudecek, is the coordinator of the CARAMBA-Project (EU, Horizon 2020 Program: first-in-man IIT with SLAMF7 CART), co-investigator of the EURE-CART-Project (EU, Horizon 2020 Program: first-in-man IIT with CD44v6 CART) and is a member of the immunotherapy working groups of EBMT and EHA. Together with Hermann Einsele, Michael Hudecek organizes the annual EBMT/EHA European CART Cell Meeting.

Role within Project

  • Leader of WP2
  • Coordinate in vitro and in vivo studies
  • Provide clinical samples and expertise, as well as experience in regulatory assessment and approval of immuno-oncology MoAs