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Alan Trounson, PhD, MSc, on New Frontiers in Allogeneic Cell Therapy

The chief executive officer of Cartherics discussed the company’s development of NK cell, T-cell, and macrophage cell therapies for various solid tumor indications.

“We switched our focus to allogeneic CAR therapies because we felt this was the future in the area. I'm a stem cell biologist having developed embryonic stem cells, and to use an allogeneic cancer therapy to treat hundreds if not thousands of patients with the same product is very attractive [and it would] reduce the cost dramatically if we're able to do that.”

Although autologous chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapies have shown great success in treating blood cancers, many companies are now pursuing the development of allogeneic CAR-T therapies in order to overcome certain limitations of the autologous approach.

In an interview with CGTLive, Alan Trounson, PhD, MSc, chief executive officer and executive director of Cartherics, discussed the company’s decision to focus on allogeneic cell therapies and several of the investigational products currently in the company’s pipeline. He spoke about the decision to generate induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells from umbilical cord samples. Trounson emphasized that these cell lines are immortal and can be directed to develop into any immune cell type, allowing for great versatility. To illustrate this, he noted that Cartherics is using its iPS cell platform to develop natural killer (NK) cell, T-cell, and macrophage cell therapies with potential indications for solid tumor types including ovarian, gastric, prostate, pancreatic, liver, and kidney cancers.

In addition to discussing several of the company’s near-term pipeline products, Trounson also discussed other areas of possible development for the future. In particular, he spoke about the potential for introducing a memory component to cell therapies to help prevent against future occurrences of cancer.