Preclinical Studies for CAR T-Cell Therapies
While CAR T-cell therapy has not been the overnight success that it first appeared to be, with the first CAR T-cells developed in the late 1980s, it remains a highly active area of preclinical and clinical development. The therapy involves extracting a patient’s own T-cells, expanding and genetically modifying them ex vivo to recognize a tumor-associated antigen, and then transferring them back to the patient. Current CAR T-cell therapies in clinical development predominantly target CD19, a protein found on the surface B-cells. Over the past few years, there has been a significant increase in interest and funding with a number of new biotech companies having started up specifically to develop this therapeutic approach. This effort has progressed multiple CAR T-cell therapies into clinical trials resulting in remarkable results in the areas of lymphoma and leukemia. Given the success that has been seen in hematological cancers, the next and much tougher step will be treating solid tumors. One of the biggest problems in treating solid tumors is that they surround themselves with a hostile immunosuppressive microenvironment. CAR T-cells are inefficient in getting into and penetrating this type of environment. Pharma and biotech companies are looking at designing novel CAR T-cells that will boost the activity in this setting.
MI Bioresearch has initiated over 20 in vivo studies with CAR T-cell therapies in the past 12 months and has been fortunate to work with several CAR T companies. We have optimized a technique for CAR T-cell recovery from frozen material and are optimizing protocols for non-invasively determining in vivo biodistribution of CAR T-cells using MRI. MI Bioresearch has years of experience with both hematological cancer and solid tumor models, and through collaborative relationships, we have designed experiments in mice that produce decision-enabling data to drive clinical direction and test clinical hypotheses.