Nadezhda Omelchenko, MD, on Treating Rare Sarcomas With Autologous Natural Killer Cell Therapy


The research associate at Cancer Center of Southern California in Santa Monica discussed findings from 3 patients treated with a combination therapy that included NK cell therapy SNK01.

“All 3 of these excellent cases showed the results of the trial are very promising and [indicate] even patients who already have advanced metastatic sarcoma could be treated effectively.”

Great unmet need exists for patients with advanced or metastatic sarcomas, which are associated with death in all cases under the current disease management paradigm. As such, novel methods of treatment are desperately needed for these patients. One such approach is SNK-01, an investigational autologous natural killer (NK) cell therapy that is able to be manufactured from material derived from patients who have been treated with chemotherapy. Although the NK cell therapy is not genetically modified, it is enhanced for cytotoxicity.

Results from 3 patients with chemotherapy-resistant soft tissue sarcoma who were treated with SNK-01 in combination with an immune checkpoint inhibitor were presented this year at the American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT) 2023 Annual Meeting, held May 16-20, in Los Angeles, California. Although each case was unique in terms of dosing, sarcoma type, and other factors, the study’s investigators concluded that SNK01’s observed effect on tumor growth warrants further study.

At the conference, CGTLive™ spoke with first author Nadezhda Omelchenko, MD, a research associate at Cancer Center of Southern California in Santa Monica, about the rationale behind the study and the key findings presented. Omelchenko went over the details and main findings from each of the 3 cases, and highlighted the positive results. For example, a patient with desmoplastic small round cell tumor (DSRCT) who received SNK01 at a dose of 2x109 cells and immune checkpoint inhibitor pembrolizumab at 200mg every 3 weeks, showed no evidence of disease on his last scan. The patient had received 42 cycles of the combination therapy over the course of 38 months, in addition to surgical, radiation, and chemotherapy procedures.

1. Omelchenko1 N, ChawlaN, Chua-Alcala V, et al. SNK-01 autologous enhanced natural killer cells and an immune checkpoint inhibitor control tumor growth in rare chemotherapy-resistant advanced soft tissue sarcomas. Presented at: American Society of Gene and Cell Therapy (ASGCT) 2023 Annual Meeting. May 16-20, 2023; Los Angeles, CA. Abstract #1136.

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