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The Campbell Foundation Provides $65,000 Grant

to Fund CAR T Research at The Wistar Institute

FORT LAUDERDALE, FL –– Sept. 13 , 2023 –– The Campbell Foundation awarded a $65,000 grant to Daniel Claiborne, Ph.D., an immunologist and researcher at The Wistar Institute in Philadelphia, who is re-engineering CAR T cells to more effectively target and kill cells infected with HIV.


Using CAR T therapy, a patient’s own immune cells are re-engineered to recognize and eliminate specific diseased or infected cells, such as cancer cells or, potentially, HIV-infected cells. The idea is for these modified cells to attach to HIV-infected cells and destroy the cells that are infected, which can in turn stop the spread of HIV to uninfected cells in the body.

“Recent advances in the field of genetic engineering have allowed for the creation of T cells that overcome many of the escape mechanisms of viral infections and cancers. In this approach, the T cell is re-directed to target a specific cell type, in this case: an HIV-infected cell,” says Dr. Claiborne, Caspar Wistar Fellow, Vaccine & Immunotherapy Center. “Additionally, other signals can be added during the engineering process to make the T cells more potent and to give them different functions relevant to the disease we intend to treat.”

One Peer Review Board member who voted to fund the project stated: “Dr. Claiborne submitted an ambitious project proposal of high relevance. The proposal is based

Claibourne Portrait 1.jpg

on robust preliminary work and vast experience with the proposed methods and topics. I believe based on preliminary work and expertise of the lab, the chance to generate data relevant to research on CAR T cells as a therapeutic intervention in HIV is quite high.”


The Campbell Foundation’s Peer Review Board voted unanimously to award the grant to Dr. Claiborne finding it to be “a well-planned series of experiments” as well as “innovative, feasible, rigorous, and relevant,” according to The Campbell Foundation’s Executive Director Ken Rapkin.


“We believe Dr. Claiborne’s research has great potential and we are excited to be able to fund it. The foundation was created to fund novel and groundbreaking laboratory-based HIV and AIDS research and we believe this project fulfills that mission,” said Rapkin.


The Wistar Institute is the nation’s first independent, nonprofit biomedical research organization. This is the fifth grant that The Campbell Foundation has provided to a Wistar Institute researcher since 1998.


About The Campbell Foundation


The Campbell Foundation was established in 1995 by the late Richard Campbell Zahn as a private, independent, nonprofit foundation dedicated to supporting clinical, laboratory-based research into the prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS. It focuses its funding on supporting alternative, nontraditional avenues of research. The Campbell Foundation has given away more than $12 million since its inception.


About The Wistar Institute


The Wistar Institute, the first independent, nonprofit biomedical research institute in the United States, marshals the talents of an international team of outstanding scientists through a culture of biomedical collaboration and innovation. Wistar scientists are focused on solving some of the world’s most challenging and important problems in the field of cancer, infectious disease, and immunology. Wistar has been producing groundbreaking advances in world health for more than a century. Consistent with its legacy of leadership in biomedical research and a track record of life-saving contributions in immunology and cell biology, Wistar scientists’ early-stage discoveries shorten the path from bench to bedside.

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