Biotech Strategy Blog

Commentary on Science, Innovation & New Products with a focus on Oncology, Hematology & Cancer Immunotherapy

Posts tagged ‘CAR T CRISPR’

Sunrise over Sitges

Sitges – One of the noticeable things about Sitges, a former fishing village south of Barcelona, is the quality of the light. We could imagine it, like St Ives in Cornwall, as being home to artists in times past.

The sunrises and sunsets have been particularly impressive. When it comes to oncology new product development, we’re all chasing the light and the potential of a cure. That’s the promise of cancer immunotherapy.

Here at the 2nd European CAR T cell meeting, jointly organized by EHA and EBMT, we’ve heard about where we’re at with current cell therapies, some of the many challenges that have yet to be overcome and we’ve been offered insights into where some in the field are going.

2020 will be a landmark year for CAR T cell therapy with new regulatory approvals on the horizon, particularly in myeloma, but the journey to make these therapies effective in solid tumours is one where we still need to chase the light.

In this post you can read our notes and commentary on day 2 in Sitges and what caught our attention at the meeting.

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Salt Lake City, Utah – The CAR T cell therapy niche has certainly provided plenty of controversy, highlights and lowlights over the last decade or so, although much of the mainstream attention has really only surfaced in the last couple of years.

Gone skiing?

For those interested in this space, there is a short synopsis of the BMT Tandem 2018 plenary session that took place this weekend and simultaneously published in the ASBMT journal (See: Perales et al., 2018):

“Building a Safer and Faster CAR: Seatbelts, Airbags, and CRISPR” 

While no one doubts that we have a need for safer CARs to reduce or ameliorate severe toxicities (the debate here is what are the best ways to achieve that in the clinic), it remains unclear whether a fast or slow approach is the optimal way forward in terms of efficacy.

In this post, we take a look at new clinical and scientific findings that may pave the way forward for the future in the CAR T cell space through the lens of several different academic institutions…

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I was thinking that the reader mailbag questions this week would be full of straightforward easy to answer clinical questions, after all, they usually are post ASH and ASCO… but not this year!

T-cells attacking a cancer cell. Digital illustration.

T-cells attacking a cancer cell. Digital illustration.

Instead, there is a huge wall of intense focus on CAR T cell therapies and the latest round of intriguing developments in this space.  While CARs have received much attention, TCR cell products have largely flown under the radar to date, although that may change.

What’s particularly interesting is that these charges could potentially be transformative or absolute duds – it’s unlikely to be an indifferent middle ground here.

Here, we answer questions on the ever-increasingly complex science that is ongoing in the TCR and CAR T cell fields.

In the next mailbag, we will cover the clinical questions arising from data at ASCO, so if you have any queries on the data in Chicago, there’s still time to send them in before next Friday!

If you are interested in the new developments in the complex world of gene editing and how they may impact the ever-changing adoptive cell therapy space, then this article is for you.  Subscribers can log-in below or you can click the Blue Box to nab instant access!

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Yesterday, Juno Therapeutics announced a new deal for a collaboration with Editas Medicine that is:

“Focused on creating chimeric antigen receptor (CAR T) and high-affinity T cell receptor (TCR) therapies to treat cancer. The companies will pursue three research programs together utilizing Editas’ genome editing technologies, including CRISPR/Cas9, with Juno’s CAR and TCR technologies.”

This follows on from their recent deals with Fate Therapeutics and Stage Cell Therapeutics and bluebird bio’s licensing deal with Five Prime for novel antibodies to develop CAR T cell therapy.

One of the most interesting questions in CAR T cell development, is whether you need to incorporate a suicide gene or suicide switch into them that allows you to turn off the response, force the T cells to self-destruct, in the event of severe Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS) or other serious adverse events.

This review article is another example that straddles data from conferences earlier this month at Immunology 2015 (AAI) and American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT) with the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) this coming weekend.

At ASGCT we spoke with Dr Carl June and also heard the latest update on what Cellectis are doing from Dr Julianne Smith.

Companies mentioned: Juno Therapeutics, Novartis/U Penn, Cellectis, Bellicum, bluebird bio, Formula, Molmed.

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