Terese Hammond, MD, on Investigating iNKT Cells in COVID-Associated ARDS


The director of the CCU/ICU at Saint John’s Health Center discussed unmet respiratory treatment needs in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When the pandemic began, we all felt pretty helpless. We had really no viable therapies to treat our patients. The ones that were getting intensely ill were requiring mechanical ventilation and even more sophisticated therapies like lung bypass and extracorporeal membrane oxygenation [ECMO], and were all dying at a pretty high rate. I think our survival rate initially was maybe 10 or 20%, when people got sick enough to be placed on mechanical support... I think all of us were searching for options and how to improve the outcomes in these tremendously ill patients.”

The allogeneic off-the-shelf invariant natural killer T-cell (iNKT) therapy, agenT-797 (MiNK Therapeutics), was well-tolerated and improved survival in patients with COVID-19-associated acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) in addition to mechanical ventilation or ECMO.

These findings, from a phase 1/2 trial (NCT04582201) were presented at the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer’s (SITC) 37th Annual Meeting, November 8-12, 2022, in Boston, Massachusetts, by Terese Hammond, MD, pulmonologist and medical director, cardiac care unit/intensive care unit, Saint John’s Health Center.

CGTLive spoke with Hammond to learn more about the need for more treatment options in patients with COVID-associated ARDS. She discussed the advantages of iNKT cells to bolster the immune system in more traditional cell therapy applications in oncology as well as respiratory indications like ARDS.

Click here to view more coverage of the 2022 SITC Annual Meeting.

Purbhoo MA, Yigit B, Moskowitz D, et al. Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cell therapy (agenT-797) in subjects with moderate to severe acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) secondary to SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19). Presented at: SITC 37th Annual Meetin,g November 8-12, 2022, in Boston, Massachusetts. Poster #649
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