Pamela Garzone, PhD, on Tackling Challenges of Treating Solid Tumors With CAR-T

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The chief development officer of Anixa Biosciences discussed how the company is tackling 2 major challenges presented by solid tumors in its ovarian cancer clinical trial.

“It has been shown preclinically that by giving these CAR T-cells regionally as opposed to by intravenous administration, that you have better homing to the tumor because there's direct cell-to-cell contact. To give it by intravenous administration, there's no homing to the tumor because you need an inciting inflammatory type of environment for those cells to go there, to do the T-cell priming, and to get activation. [With regional administration], you're actually putting the CAR-T right in the arena with the tumor...”

Anixa Biosciences is currently evaluating an autologous chimeric endocrine receptor (CER) T-cell product that targets follicle-stimulating hormone receptor (FSHR) for the treatment of recurrent ovarian cancer. The product, referred to as FSHCER T-cells, is being assessed in a phase 1 clinical trial (NCT05316129). An update on the status of the study was recently presented by Pamela Garzone, PhD, the chief development officer of Anixa Biosciences, at the 8th Annual CAR-TCR Summit, held August 29-September 1, 2023, in Boston, Massachusetts, in a presentation entitled “Developing a CAR-T for Ovarian Cancer & Other Solid Tumors”.

In an interview with CGTLive™, Garzone used the details of the therapy’s and trial’s designs as a jumping-off point to discuss the broader challenges of using chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapies for the treatment of solid tumors. She identified 2 major challenges, among the many that exist, for discussion: antigen selection and homing/infiltration of T-cells. She noted that FSHR was selected as the target for Anixa’s FSHCER T-cells for several advantageous factors, such as the fact that in healthy tissue it is only expressed in the ovaries and testes. In terms of homing/infiltration, Garzone pointed out that local delivery of CAR T-cells can provide advantages in targeting solid tumors over the intravenous delivery methods typically used for CAR-T therapies directed against hematological malignancies. She noted that Anixa’s trial is using an intraperitoneal catheter to deliver the CER T-cells directly to the abdominal space.

Click here for more coverage of CAR-TCR Summit.

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