Modified natural killer cells less toxic than CAR-T treatments and Australia cracks down on unproven stem cell therapies
The news highlights:
Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration tightens rules on autologous cell therapies
New cord blood processing technology maximizes stem cell count for future treatments
iPSC-derived natural killer cells offer new alternative to CAR-T immunotherapies
The Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), the branch of the Australian Government that regulates therapeutic products, has tightened regulations around the advertisement of autologous human cell and tissue products. From July 1 2018, these products cannot be advertised to consumers and any adverse events must be reported to the TGA. This will affect vendors of unproven stem cell clinics which have proliferated in recent years.
Speaking to ABC’s 7.30 program, Megan Munsie, Stem Cells Australia (Australia) commented, “It certainly is an experimental procedure for many conditions. Because of the direct consumer advertising, people might think they are getting a treatment that’s been shown to work that’s safe, but really I think they are buying hope in many instances.”
Leading UK blood cord bank, Cells4Life, has introduced a new cord blood processing technology that delivers three times more stem cells in treatment than any other method. TotiCyte is compatible with delayed and optimal cord clamping, which takes place once the umbilical cord has collapsed and has been shown to confer a higher red blood and stem cell count and promote a stronger immune system. The new technology allows the child’s stem cells to be retained from as little as 10ml of residual cord blood and preserved for future treatment.
“Using TotiCyte means that your baby’s sample will be useful throughout their whole life, not just in childhood, and could even be used for multiple therapies,” said Wayne Channon, chairman at Cells4Life. “Clearly, the more cells stored, the more treatments that can be done. All parents have the right to know about this exciting opportunity and about delayed and optimal cord clamping, so that they can make an informed choice.”
Modified natural killer (NK) cells derived from induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) may offer advantages over chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T immunotherapies, according to a study conducted by researchers at UC San Diego School of Medicine (CA, USA) and University of Minnesota (MN, USA). Unlike CAR-T therapies, CAR NK cells do not require patient matching and could therefore provide an ‘off-the-shelf’ treatment to potentially thousands of patients. The modified NK cells displayed similar anti-tumor activity to that of T-CAR-expressing T cells when tested against ovarian cancer in mice but with less toxicity.
“One of the main challenges of immunotherapy has been the clinical manufacture of modified cells,” said Dan Kaufman, professor of medicine in the Division of Regenerative Medicine and director of cell therapy at UC San Diego School of Medicine. “We’ve shown that you can engineer iPSCs, create chimeric antigen receptor-expressing NK cells to better target refractory cancers that have resisted other treatments… one batch of iPSC-derived NK cells can be potentially used to treat thousands of patients.”
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