NK Cells are Now Better Serial Killers
Could native, exhausted and no-longer-functioning natural killer cells (NK cells) in cancer patients be rescued and revived by a novel, off-the-shelf immuno-oncology therapeutic that also happens to be a pervasive serial cancer killer?
The Data Says Yes.
Initial human data of GT Biopharma’s disruptive, first-in-class TriKE™ therapy shows that a patient’s native Natural Killer (NK) cells are rescued from their state of exhaustion and inability to kill cancer cells without the need for administration of supplemental ex vivo (outside the body) engineered donor or autologous NK cells, or NK cells induced from progenitors (e.g. induced pluripotent stem cells or cord blood), which is a costly manufacturing process added to an already costly therapeutic regiment.
Unlike cell therapies, TriKE™ exerts its therapeutic effect in patients without the need for the administration of engineered progenitor-derived or allogenic/autologous cells. TriKE™ is a protein biologic immuno-oncology therapeutic incorporating an NK cell activating domain, Interleukin-15 (IL-15) to aid NK cell proliferation and persistence, and a cancer cell targeting domain. TriKE™ therapy is well tolerated by patients, and does not provoke cytokine release syndrome (CRS) which is common with bispecific T-cell engager (BiTE®) or CAR-T cell therapies. Cytokine release syndrome is caused by a large, rapid release of cytokines into the blood from hyperactivated immune T cells which can cause organ failure and be life threatening.
GTB-3550 is the Company’s lead TriKE™ therapeutic candidate now being evaluated in patients in a clinical trial for the treatment of relapsed/refractory acute myeloid leukemia (AML) and myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) (clinicaltrials.gov - NCT03214666). AML and MDS are cancers of the cells in the bone marrow which differentiate into blood cells. TriKE™ is able to activate and promote serial killing of cancer cells by the patient’s NK cells. Thus far, patients treated with TriKE™ have shown no significant side effects.
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