Also this week: Stem cell transplant removes active HIV from a patient, Lonza announces collaboration for point-of-care manufacturing and autologous immunotherapy, and Cellectis receives a patent for CRISPR—Cas9 edited CAR-T.
Fibroblast cell therapy treatment against coronavirus patented
Stem cell transplant leaves second patient with no active HIV particles
Cocoon collaboration aims to bring point-of-care manufacturing to autologous immunotherapy
Cellectis gains patent for CRISPR-edited CAR-T methodology
FibroGenesis (TX, USA) has filed a US patent for treating the long-term consequences of coronavirus with fibroblast cells. Coronavirus can lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), an accumulation of fluid on the lungs and decrease in oxygen uptake. The new therapy claims to involve the utilization of universal donor fibroblast cells to dampen the condition whilst simultaneously leading to the production of anti-viral cytokines.
“We have known about the regenerative and anti-inflammatory properties of fibroblasts, but our research continues to discover many other benefits of this ‘super-cell,'” commented Tom Ichim (FibroGenesis). “COVID-19 mortality centers around ARDS and we are finding compelling data to potentially cure this deadly condition with fibroblasts. We have demonstrated that our cells are capable of producing interferon. Hypothetically, this endows our cells not only with the ability to suppress ARDS, but also allows the cells to possess a direct anti-viral effect.”
A second patient has responded to a stem cell therapy to remove detectable active HIV, replicating the drastic results previously observed. The paper, authored by Cambridge University’s (UK) Ravindra Gupta, demonstrated that the patient responded to a bone marrow transplant from a HIV-resistant donor, following reduced-dose chemotherapy, and presented with no active viral particles in the blood after 30 months.
“We propose that these results represent the second ever case of a patient to be cured of HIV. Our findings show that the success of stem cell transplantation as a cure for HIV, first reported nine years ago in the Berlin patient, can be replicated,” explained Gupta. “It is important to note that this curative treatment is high-risk, and only used as a last resort for patients with HIV who also have life-threatening hematological malignancies. Therefore, this is not a treatment that would be offered widely to patients with HIV who are on successful anti-retroviral treatment.
Lonza (Basel, Switzerland) will collaborate with immunotherapy experts, including Stanford University School of Medicine (CA, USA), Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (WA, USA) and Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (CA, USA), to develop their point-of-care autologous therapy production technology, Cocoon.
Lonza hopes that by acknowledging the key role research institutions play in the early stages of therapy development they can streamline and accelerate the process, allowing innovative therapies to come to market sooner.
“We are extremely motivated to be working hand-in-hand with these premier institutes, among the leaders in cell-based immunotherapy discovery and development, to exhibit the use of the closed, automated Cocoon Platform for manufacturing cell therapies,” commented Eytan Abraham, Head of Personalized Medicine at Lonza. “We believe that using the Cocoon Platform for decentralized cell therapy manufacturing at clinical centers, in addition to centralized locations, will convey significant benefits in costs, scalability, and lead time to deliver novel cell therapies to those patients most in need.”
Cellectis (Paris, France) has achieved yet another patent from the US Patent and Trademark Office (VA, USA) for their CAR-T therapy. The patent covers the company’s method for generating CRISPR—Cas9 edited allogeneic T-cells, and follows similar patents being awarded within Europe.
“These patents highlight Cellectis’s long-term expansion of expertise in various gene-editing technologies, including CRISPR—Cas9,” stated AndrÃ© Choulika (Cellectis). “Cellectis invented the gene-edited CAR-T allogeneic approach, and over the past decade, we have remained committed to developing the most safe and efficacious therapeutic products on a global scale.”
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