Next step for cancer treatment trial

27 September 2019

We have approved an application to release genetically modified live chimaeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cells for use in a clinical trial.

The applicant, the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research, intends to carry out a Phase 1 clinical trial of CAR T-cells, called WZTL-002 cells, for patients with B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The cells are developed in containment under an existing EPA approval.  

This is the first time we have issued an approval for the release from containment of CAR T-cells for use in a clinical trial. 

There are approximately 900 new cases of non-Hodgkin lymphoma in New Zealand each year.  WZTL-002 cells are designed to specifically recognise and kill the lymphoma cells. 

We made the decision to approve the release from containment of WZTL-002 cells after thorough assessment of the potential risks to the health and safety of the public, any valued species, natural habitats or the environment. 

The WZTL-002 cells may only be released for use in a clinical trial at Wellington Hospital. The approval expires upon the conclusion of the trial. 

Read more about this application and the decision