Belgian Biotech’s Leukemia CAR-T Treatment Leaves Patient Cancer-Free

04/10/2017 - 2 minutes

Celyad has announced early results from a clinical trial, where a patient has been cleared of cancer after treatment with its alternative CAR-T cell therapy.

Celyad has pioneered a unique Natural Killer Receptor (NKR) T cell platform for the treatment of cancer, a potential €100B market. Early results from its Phase I study assessing the company’s candidate, CYAD-01, saw a patient with relapsed acute myeloid leukemia (AML) achieve Morphological Leukemia-Free Status (MLFS). The next challenge is to back this up in as many clinical settings as possible.

Celyad’s technology overcomes limitations of CAR-T by stimulating natural killer (NK) cells, white blood cells that form the first line of immune defence. CYAD-01 T cells are modified with a sequence that encodes NK2GD, a receptor that activates NK cells upon interaction with its ligand. To improve the potency of the cell, co-stimulation is used. Luckily, regular T cells naturally express one of the molecules required for co-stimulation, so the construction of NKR-T cells is relatively simple.

Celyad has joined the CAR-T party, which is currently led by Novartis, with Kite Pharma not far behind. Although a patient being left cancer-free is great, we must not get carried away until we have seen it replicated in more patients.


Image – Kateryna Kon / shutterstock.com

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