Penn Vet | CCC Clinical Trials - Pilot Study of xenograft chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapy for drug resistant or refractory CD20+ B cell Lymphoma
New Bolton Center Kennett Square, PA
Emergencies & Appointments:
Ryan Hospital Philadelphia, PA

Pilot Study of xenograft chimeric antigen receptor T cell therapy for drug resistant or refractory CD20+ B cell Lymphoma

Aug 13, 2020


This is a new cell-based treatment for dogs  with B cell cancers such as B  cell lymphoma and B cell leukemia. In this approach, immune cells (known as T cells) are taken from a single human donor and genetically modified in the laboratory to express a receptor that recognizes B cells. The human cells are also genetically altered so that the dog's immune system does not reject the human cells. The genetically modified human cells are expanded outside of the body to produce large numbers of killer T cells that can  recognize and  kill the dog's B cells. This type  of treatment is known as adoptive immunotherapy and the cells that are infused into the patients are known as universal chimeric antigen receptor T cells (UCAR T cells). 

The CAR approach has shown promising results in people with blood cancers such as chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) and acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), however, this  is  the first  time that human CAR T cells will be used in canine patients. More information about CAR T cells in people can be found here:

Study Purpose

The purpose of this study is to determine the safety, persistence and effectiveness of B cell specific UCART cells to target and kill B cells in dogs with B cell cancers. This study uses genetically modified human CAR T cells. 

The human T cells will be genetically modified in the laboratory to become UCART-20 cells designed to recognize, target, and kill CD20+ B cells. Your dog will receive chemotherapy prior to infusion and then will receive a single dose of UCART-20 cells that will be infused into your dog by an intravenous infusion (into a vein). It is hoped that these cells will kill your dog's B  cells, reduce tumor burden and induce clinical remission.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Dogs with B cell lymphoma or B cell leukemias
  • Dogs with confirmed expression of the target molecule (CD20) on the surface of their tumor cells (this can be determined at UPenn)
  • Dogs that weigh more than 10kg
  • Dogs that have no other concurrent medical problems

Comments: At this time, we are enrolling patients in a sequential manner, meaning that the next patient will only be treated after the first patient has finished their course of therapy.


If you are interested in participating in this clinical trial or would like to learn more about it, please contact the Veterinary Clinical Investigations Center (VCIC) at 215-573-0302 or