ASEF Speaker Series

Dr. Anže Smole: Paving the way for cancer immunotherapy with CAR-T cells

April 20, 2023 | 7:00 pm | Faculty of Biotechnology of the University of Ljubljana, Department of Agronomy, lecture room A4 and Zoom

The American Slovenian Education Foundation (ASEF) is organizing a new popular science lecture entitled Paving new paths for cancer immunotherapy with CAR-T cells as part of the ASEF Speaker Series. The lecture will be held by dr. Anže Smole.

The lecture will take place on Thursday, April 20th, starting at 7 p.m. in a hybrid version, at the Faculty of Biotechnology of the University of Ljubljana, Department of Agronomy, lecture room A4, Jamnikarjeva 101, 1000 Ljubljana and via Zoom. Pre-registration for the lecture must be done by April 20 at 6 p.m. at the latest. When registering for the event, the type of participation is selected (at the location or via Zoom). All registered participants via Zoom will receive a Zoom link to their email address before the event.


CAR-T (Chimeric Antigen Receptor T cells) cell immunotherapy is the first clinically approved treatment approach for certain blood cancers using genetically modified T cells. Despite the fact that cancer immunotherapy with CAR-T cells represents a change in the treatment paradigm, this approach faces many challenges. An example is the limited effectiveness of action in solid tumors, which represent the majority of cancers. On the other hand, approved CAR-T cell immunotherapy often comes with harmful side effects, such as a cytokine storm, a violent immune response that can lead to life-threatening complications. dr. Smole will present the research entitled “Expression of Inducible Factors Reprograms CAR-T Cells for Enhanced Function and Safety”, which was recently published in prestigious magazine “Cancer Cell”. dr. Smole is the first and one of the two corresponding authors of this scientific publication. The research was carried out in the research group of Dr. Daniel J. Powell, Jr. at the Center for Cellular Immunotherapy, led by Dr. Carl H. June, MD at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, USA. This work represents an important contribution to solving the above-mentioned challenges and lays the groundwork for the development of innovative next-generation cellular immunotherapies that could improve cancer treatments. Nevertheless, there is still a long way to clinical translation of concepts or parts of this research.


Dr. Anže Smole is an immunologist who deals with understanding the functioning of the immune system and developing advanced methods of treating complex diseases such as cancer and autoimmunity with cellular immunotherapy. After his undergraduate and doctoral studies in Slovenia, he continued his research career as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Pennsylvania (USA) in the group of Dr. Daniel J. Powell, Jr. at the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies, led by Carl H. June, the father of cellular immunotherapy with CAR-T cells. On his research journey, Dr. Smole has received numerous national and international awards and is one of the inventors on several patents and patent applications. His desire is to contribute to the development of the field in Slovenia, so he continues his research path at the National Institute of Biology at the Department of Genetic Toxicology and Cancer Biology, where together with Dr. Jelko Pohar founded a new research group, Immunology and Cellular Immunotherapy (ICI), which is dedicated to research in the field of basic immunology and the development of new therapies.

ASEF connects scientists and academics all over the world.

The ASEF Speaker Series project is made possible with the financial support of the Government Office for Slovenians Abroad and the Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Youth.

ASEF Speaker Series