Applying Innovative Technology to Develop Allogeneic CAR T Therapy
The process for manufacturing our off-the-shelf allogeneic CAR T therapy, or AlloCARs, first involves harvesting healthy, selected, screened and tested T cells from healthy donors. This means that a larger portion of eligible patients, including those who are critically ill and have T cells that are difficult to harvest or expand, can potentially receive treatment, and no eligible patient will have to undergo leukapheresis (a laboratory procedure in which a patient’s white blood cells are separated and the remaining blood cells and plasma are returned to the patient).
Next, the T cells are engineered to express CARs, which recognize certain cell surface proteins that are expressed in hematologic or solid tumors. UCART19, our lead investigational therapy, recognizes CD19, a cell surface protein expressed on B-cells, including cancerous B-cells; it is just the first in a line of AlloCARs we plan to develop. The next step in the process involves editing out genes that would lead to rejection. This is done to circumvent a host immune response against non-matched donor cells, reducing the risk of graft versus host disease (GvH).
The engineered T cells then undergo a purification step and are ultimately cryopreserved in vials for delivery to patients.