Cell therapy weekly: ISCT warns against unproven T-cell cryopreservation attempts

First US clinical trial for transplant virus cell therapy and first patients treated in clinical trial of degenerative disc disease cell therapy

Aug 08, 2019
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The news highlights:

ISCT warns patients against unproven T-cell preservation
First US clinical trial for transplant virus cell therapy
First patients treated in clinical trial of degenerative disc disease cell therapy

ISCT warns patients against unproven T-cell preservation

The International Society for Cell and Gene Therapy (ISCT, BC, Canada) – global drivers of cell therapy translation and patient access – has released warning advice to patients concerning so-called T-cell preservation . The controversial process leverages the benefits of CAR-T cell immunotherapies to promote third party cryopreservation services to enable storage of T-cells for future use. Such services are marketed to individuals of the public who consider themselves at risk of potentially requiring therapeutic treatment with CAR-T cell therapies in the future. The ISCT has spearheaded objection towards such unproven, unethical techniques.

Massimo Dominici, Chair of the ISCT Presidential Task Force on the Use of Unproven and/or Unethical Cell & Gene Therapy, commented: “Patients and members of the public need to have the right information available to make informed decisions on using services to preserve healthy T-cells…Without scientific validation, these companies are creating the ground for “frozen” unproven cell and gene therapies, potentially generating disappointing and even harmful results for the field.”

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First US clinical trial for transplant virus cell therapy

The University of Wisconsin’s Program for Advanced Cell Therapy (PACT; WI, USA) is to carry out the first, FDA-approved clinical trial of a novel cell therapy for cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection; this is contracted by up to 40% of kidney and pancreas transplant recipients. The study will explore the use of virus-specific white blood cells – engineered white blood cells harvested from patients or close relatives that effectively recognize and kill virus cells – for treating CMV infection. In transplant recipients, who are often immunosuppressed, CMV infection can be fatal.

Jacques Galipeau, Director of PACT, commented: “The use of living cells collected from relatives with intact immunity to cure viral complications of transplantation is an entirely new therapy for a vexing problem.”

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First patients treated in clinical trial of degenerative disc disease cell therapy

DiscGenics (UT, USA), a biotechnology company that specializes in clinical-stage, pain-relieving cell therapies for degenerative disc disease (DDD), has announced the first results of their Japanese clinical trial program. The ongoing trial is investigating the efficacy of IDCT – an injectable, allogeneic, cell-based therapy comprising engineered Discogenic Cells derived from intervertebral disc tissue – in patients with mild to moderate DDD.

Flagg Flanagan, CEO and Chairman of the DiscGenics Board of Directors, commented: “Commencing clinical evaluation of our first product candidate in Japan is a significant milestone for DiscGenics as we continue to advance IDCT as a potentially revolutionary treatment for DDD…With IDCT, we have an opportunity to serve Japan’s aging population by providing a novel, interventional therapy for DDD, one of the most common causes of chronic low back pain and a well-known unmet medical need.”

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For more weekly cell therapy news, read previous editions of the cell therapy weekly.

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