ImmunoCellular Therapeutics Ltd., a Calabasas biotech firm developing cancer treatments, announced Thursday that it has entered into a sponsored research agreement with University of Texas professor Dr. Cassian Yee to help advance its Stem-to-T-Cell program.

Dr. Yee is a world-renowned expert in identifying and isolating cytotoxic T cells, which are white blood cells that kill cancer cells, the company said in a prepared statement. He currently serves as a professor for the Department of Melanoma Medical Oncology as well as the Department of Immunology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Yee will focus on finding tumor-killing T cells that express an undisclosed target antigen. Once found, the T cell receptors will be organized and placed into stem cells for further examination. The goal of the project is to successfully create a program where stem cells are isolated from the patient, altered in the lab and returned to the patient with antigen-specific T cells that target and kill tumors.

“The identification of novel TCR sequences for application in stem cells has the potential to launch this program toward clinical testing,” Dr. Steven Swanson, senior vice president of research for ImmunoCellular, said in the statement.

Shares closed up 1 cent, or 2.3 percent, to 48 cents on the New York Stock Exchange.