A Cure for Cancer? How CAR T-Cell Therapy is Revolutionizing Oncology

Labiotech.eu | September 10, 2019

CAR-T therapy has been hailed as a cure for cancer, but what really is this ‘miraculous technology’ and what can we actually expect from it? The field of immuno-oncology is booming with billions of euros in investment. The ability to rewire our own immune system to fight cancer has certainly created huge expectations. After the success of the first checkpoint inhibitor drugs on the market, many are turning their attention to CAR-T cell therapy. There are two CAR-T therapies already on the market. The field is now booming, with over 800 CAR-T clinical trials running. But is this therapy really a cure for cancer, as many seem to believe? Can the technology meet such high expectations? Are side effects a concern? Is it worth the huge price tag? To answer the most burning questions, I talked with some of the leaders in this field to draw an overview of the current state of CAR-T technology.

Spotlight

Recruitment, retention, and diversity are critical elements of clinical trials that, if insufficient, can jeopardize successful trial completion. 

Spotlight

Recruitment, retention, and diversity are critical elements of clinical trials that, if insufficient, can jeopardize successful trial completion. 

Related News

INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Alloy Therapeutics and Normunity Sign Multi-Program Antibody Discovery Collaboration in Immuno-Oncology

Alloy Therapeutics | November 18, 2022

Alloy Therapeutics, a biotechnology ecosystem company, announced an antibody discovery collaboration spanning multiple precision immuno-oncology programs for Normunity, a biotech company that recently announced its $65 million Series A financing. The collaboration will support the advancement of Normunity’s immune normalizers, antibody therapies designed to target novel mechanisms that free the body’s normal immunity to fight cancer, which are conceived through a unique biotech-academic collaboration with a renowned immuno-oncology university research lab. Alloy democratizes access to tools, technologies, and services that are foundational for discovering and developing therapeutic biologics and has partnered with more than 130 discovery teams across academia, biotech, and large biopharma organizations. Through its discovery services offering, Alloy conducts high-touch, bespoke therapeutic discovery campaigns against partners’ targets of interest. “Our partnership reflects an exciting opportunity to pair Normunity’s insights in immune disruption and cancer disease biology with Alloy’s world-class antibody discovery expertise. We value Alloy’s collaborative approach and look forward to working together to advance the best therapeutic antibodies to target mechanisms discovered through Normunity’s platforms.” Normunity Chief Scientific Officer William LaRochelle, PhD The collaboration between Alloy and Normunity is leveraging Alloy’s high velocity antibody discovery services offering, Daedamab, which takes a sequencing-first approach to antibody discovery that reduces discovery timelines without sacrificing quality. The Daedamab team is based in Alloy’s research facility in Athens, GA, and its workflow comprises the ATX-Gx™, Alloy’s proprietary mice platform for human therapeutic antibody discovery, in addition to robust B cell isolation, next generation sequencing, cloning-free expression and a high throughput screening process—all supported by a rich informatics engine. “We are very excited to work with Normunity on its set of unique immuno-oncology targets using our high velocity NGS-based antibody discovery methods leveraging the ATX-Gx platform," said Richard Shimkets, PhD, SVP of Genetics and New Technologies at Alloy Therapeutics and CEO of the Daedamab site. “This relationship is emblematic of Alloy’s expertise in deploying the right technologies and processes to find our partners the best therapeutic antibodies against the novel targets they bring us.” Normunity is advancing into the clinic with programs that target mechanisms that drive the exclusion of T cells into immune-sensitive tumors and aim to deliver an active and effective immune system into cold tumors. About Daedamab Alloy’s Daedamab discovery service offers a novel, fast, powerful sequence-first approach to finding and making the best antibodies. The team is based in Athens, GA and supports Alloy collaborators with complete antibody discovery services, antibody sequencing of customer-provided material, expression and testing of customer-provided antibody sequences, humanization, and optimization services. About Alloy Therapeutics Alloy Therapeutics is a biotechnology ecosystem company empowering the global scientific community to make better medicines together. Through a community of partners across academia, biotech, and the largest biopharma, Alloy democratizes access to pre-competitive tools, technologies, services, and company creation capabilities that are foundational for discovering and developing therapeutic biologics across six modalities, including antibodies, TCRs, genetic medicines, peptides, cell therapies, and drug delivery. Partners may access all current and future technologies for a flat annual fee through Alloy’s Innovation Subscriptions offering. As a reflection of Alloy’s relentless commitment to the scientific community, Alloy reinvests 100% of its revenue in innovation and access to innovation. About Normunity Normunity, Inc., is a biotechnology company creating a new class of precision immuno-oncology medicines, called immune normalizers, that target novel mechanisms that free the body’s normal immunity against cancer. Based on an ongoing, interactive academic-biotech partnership with the lab of Dr. Lieping Chen at Yale School of Medicine, Normunity is targeting newly-discovered mechanisms of immune disruption in cancer based on proprietary discovery platforms that elucidate the complex interactions between human cancer and the immune system. The company is advancing an emerging pipeline of immune normalizers, including initial drug programs that target mechanisms that drive the exclusion of T-cells from immune-sensitive tumors and other mechanisms that are barriers to normal immune function in cancer. Normunity is located in Boston, Mass. and West Haven, Conn.

Read More

MEDTECH, INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

QIAGEN and Helix Partner to Advance Companion Diagnostics for Hereditary Diseases

QIAGEN | January 06, 2023

QIAGEN recently announced an exclusive strategic partnership with Helix, a California population genomics leader, to advance companion diagnostics for hereditary diseases. The requirement for companion diagnostic devices and tests capable of detecting clinically relevant genetic abnormalities grows along with the accelerated development of precision medicines. These tests helps in making decisions by showing patients that are most likely to benefit from a specific therapeutic product or be at risk. Although companion diagnostics that use whole exome sequencing have primarily been used in oncology so far, they are widely believed to have a great deal of potential in hereditary disease areas like cardiovascular, metabolic, neurodegenerative, and auto-immune diseases. According to the agreement, QIAGEN will be Helix’s exclusive marketing and contracting partner in the United States. This partnership will use the Helix® Laboratory Platform, the first whole exome sequencing platform, to get a de novo class II authorization from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. As a leader in precision medicine, QIAGEN has more than 30 master partnership agreements with multinational pharma and biotech firms to develop and commercialize companion diagnostic tests for their drug candidates. Its companion diagnostic offerings include next-generation sequencing (NGS), polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and digital polymerase chain reaction (dPCR), sample types ranging from liquid biopsy to tissue, and disease areas such as cancer and Parkinson's, including 11 FDA-approved PCR-based companion diagnostics. Helix has developed an end-to-end platform that enables health systems, life sciences firms, and payers to enhance genomic research and expedite the integration of genomic data into clinical care. It has teamed with major health systems to enable population genomics programs across the United States. These programs significantly improve the identification and recruitment of patients for clinical trials in hereditary diseases such as Parkinson's and cardiovascular or inflammatory diseases such as non-alcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH). About QIAGEN QIAGEN is a leading provider of sample-to-insight solutions, enabling clients to get significant molecular insights from samples containing life's building elements. Its sample technologies are used to isolate and process DNA, RNA, and proteins from blood, tissue, and other materials. The company serves over 500,000 customers worldwide in molecular diagnostics (human healthcare) and life sciences (academia, pharma R&D, and industrial applications, primarily forensics).

Read More

MEDTECH, INDUSTRIAL IMPACT

Cybin Announces Key Findings From Sponsored Kernel Flow® Feasibility Study

Cybin | January 19, 2023

On January 18, 2023, Cybin Inc., a leading biopharmaceutical firm focused on advancing Psychedelics to Therapeutics®, announced the key findings from a feasibility study undertaken by its partner Kernel, which evaluated Kernel's Flow® wearable technology to assess ketamine's psychedelic effect on cerebral cortex hemodynamics. The findings of this Cybin-sponsored study are meant to guide the program's future direction. The key highlights of the feasibility study are It offered important proof-of-concept for Kernel Flow as a portable functional system that delivers real-time measurements of blood oxygenation changes in the brain linked with neural activity utilizing Time Domain Near Infrared Spectroscopy (TD-fNIRS). Exhibited changes in functional brain biomarkers caused by ketamine that are related to potential therapeutic effects, including changes in cortical function associated with psychedelic experiences. Compared to saline, ketamine reduces the global brain connectivity of the prefrontal region and decreases the brain-wide fractional amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (fALFF). It has been proposed that fALFF is of particular functional significance within the default mode network, which has been demonstrated to be modulated by psychedelics and is associated with several neuropsychiatric conditions. A model incorporating neurological and physiological metrics successfully predicted mystical experience scores on the Revised Mystical Experience Questionnaire, which has been shown to mediate reductions in depressive symptomatology in prior studies. Displayed reliable pulse rate variability (PRV) and physiological measurements of pulse rate (PR) from TD-fNIRS recordings that correspond to those obtained from commercial external photoplethysmography sensors, thereby eliminating the need for external sensors to measure cardiac activity in future experiments. Ketamine increased PR, decreased PRV, increased absolute oxy-hemoglobin concentrations and decreased deoxy-hemoglobin concentrations while increasing electrodermal activity (measured by an external sensor), providing additional physiological measures of the impact of the ketamine doses administered in the study. The main goal of the feasibility study was to find out how people who had been given ketamine felt about wearing Kernel Flow while in an altered state of consciousness. The feasibility study was granted FDA Investigational New Drug approval in October 2021 and US Institutional Review Board approval in January 2022. About Cybin Founded in 2019 and headquartered in Canada, Cybin is a biotechnology company that develops psychedelic pharmaceutical treatments for a variety of psychiatric and neurological disorders. It collaborates with a network of world-class partners and internationally recognized scientists to develop safe and effective treatments for patients dealing with a wide range of mental health conditions. The company is currently operating in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and the Netherlands.

Read More