While there have been some encouraging advances in treating cancer in recent decades, there are still many cancers that either resist treatment or recur after treatment. Today the governing Board of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) approved investing in a therapy targeting some of these hard-to-treat tumors.
BioEclipse Therapeutics Inc. was awarded nearly $8M to test a therapy using immune cells loaded with a cancer-killing virus that targets cancer tissue but spares healthy tissue.
This is the 78th clinical trial funded directly by the Stem Cell Agency.
BioEclipse combines two approaches—an immune cell called a cytokine-induced killer (CIK) cell and a virus engineered to kill cancer cells called an oncolytic virus (OV)—to create what they call “a multi-mechanistic, targeted treatment.”
They will use the patient’s own immune cells and, in the lab, combine them with the OV. The cell/virus combination will then be administered back to the patient. The job of the CIK cells is to carry the virus to the tumors. The virus is designed to specifically attack and kill tumors and stimulate the patient’s immune system to attack the tumor cells. The goal is to eradicate the primary tumor and prevent relapse and recurrence.
“With the intent to develop this treatment for chemotherapy-resistant or refractory solid tumors—including colorectal cancer, triple negative breast cancer, ovarian cancer, gastric cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, and osteosarcoma—it addresses a significant unmet medical need in fatal conditions for which there are limited treatment options,” says Dr. Maria T. Millan, President and CEO of CIRM.
The CIRM Board also approved more than $18 million in funding four projects under the Translation Projects program. The goal of this program is to support promising regenerative medicine (stem cell-based or gene therapy) projects that accelerate completion of translational stage activities necessary for advancement to clinical study or broad end use.
The awards went to:
|TRAN1-133442||Optogenetic therapy for treating retinitis pigmentosa and|
other inherited retinal diseases
|Paul Bresge Ray Therapeutics Inc.||$3,999,553|
|TRAN3-13332||Living Synthetic Vascular Grafts with Renewable Endothelium||Aijun Wang UC Davis||$3,112,567|
|TRAN1-13370||Next generation affinity-tuned CAR for prostate cancer||Preet Chaudhary University of Southern California||$5,805,144|
|TRAN1-3345||Autologous MPO Knock-Out Hematopoietic Stem and|
Progenitor Cells for Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension
|Don Kohn UC Los Angeles||$5,207,434|