Carisma Therapeutics, Inc. announced (March 2021) that the first patient has been dosed in the Phase 1 multi-center clinical trial for CT-0508, studying the potential of chimeric antigen receptor macrophages (CAR-Ms) for cancer immunotherapy, specifically in solid tumors. Dr. Debora Barton, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Carisma is here to talk about this novel approach in gene-based therapy development, as it is the first time CAR–engineered macrophages are being studied in humans. CAR-T cell therapy has revolutionized how cancer is treated and revealed the power of gene-based therapies, and it has met challenges with solid tumors. Carisma’s novel approach to immunotherapy may uncover potential treatment options that aim to address the unmet needs of patients, who are battling hard-to-treat cancers.
Debora Barton joined Carisma Therapeutics in November 2019. She brings 18 years of oncology experience, both in academia as a practicing physician and in the biotechnology/pharmaceutical industry. In her role as CMO, Dr. Barton brings extensive clinical and oncology experience, having practiced for nine years while assuming integral roles in medical affairs, and clinical development for more than 13 years within the biotech and pharmaceutical industries. Most recently, she served as Senior Vice President, Clinical and Safety at Iovance Biotherapeutics, a late-stage cellular therapy biotech. In her previous positions, she built clinical development and drug safety teams, established an infrastructure for the orchestration of clinical studies, and played an instrumental role in obtaining FDA Breakthrough Designation for a cell therapy product and gaining the approval of a radiopharmaceutical agent by both the FDA and EMA. Dr. Barton also spent a combined 10 years at Celgene and Novartis, always focused on improving the lives of cancer patients. She completed her medical training at Pontifícia Universidade Católica de São Paulo, and her Oncology Fellowship at Federal University of São Paulo, in Brazil.