Raphaël Ognar on Developing CIR-NK Cells to Better Target Cancer Cells


The cofounder and chief executive officer of NKILT Therapeutics discussed new preclinical data presented at WOCTC.

“In early February, we had our proof-of-concept data in vitro with natural killer cells that are even better than our T-cell data. We saw, in vitro, that early-stage data are showing very specific targeting on leukemia cells expressing human leukocyte antigen-G (HLA-G), we have a couple of other specific points that will be highlighted in the presentation about how unique it is compared to an antibody and how differentiated it could be. More importantly, we recently just generated data that were done on a 1:10 effector to target ratio, with much fewer NK cells engineered within the environment oftumor cells and closer to what would be seen in real life.”

NKILT Therapeutics is focusing on improving targeting of cancer cells in leukemias and solid tumors by use of its novel Chimeric ILT-Receptor (CIR) platform, by which the company has developed CIR T-cells and, more, recently, CIR natural killer (CIR-NK) cells. While NKILT has not yet named its lead assets, it has revealed that its first target indication will be acute myeloid leukemia, followed by renal cell carcinoma, non-small cell lung cancer, colorectal cancer, and other HLA-G expressing cancers.

Raphaël Ognar, cofounder and chief executive officer of NKILT, presented positive preclinical data on CIR-NK cells at the World Oncology Cell Therapy Congress (WOCTC) held April 25-26 in Boston, Massachusetts. CGTLive spoke with Ognar to learn more about the potential advantages of the CIR platform in targeting cancer cells and the data presented. He noted that the company is targeting early 2024 to start interacting with the FDA.

Click here to read more coverage of WOCTC 2023.

Targeting of HLA-G positive tumors with cytotoxic immune cells engineered with a chimeric ILT-Receptor. Presented at: WOCTC; April 25-26; Boston, Massachusetts.
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