BALTIMORE and PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 05, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- WindMIL Therapeutics, a clinical-stage company developing marrow-infiltrating lymphocytes (MILs™) for cancer immunotherapy, today announced a collaborative pre-clinical research partnership with University of Pennsylvania (Penn) to explore novel chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-engineered MILs (CAR-MILs™) in hematological and solid tumor model settings. The collaboration will leverage WindMIL’s and Penn’s respective expertise to conduct pre-clinical comparisons of the characteristics and functionality of CAR-T and CAR-MIL products.
“Today marks an important milestone in advancing gene-modified MILs toward the clinic while further building on WindMIL’s foundational work to develop MILs as a novel class of autologous cell therapies for cancer immunotherapy,” said Don Hayden, chairman and chief executive officer of WindMIL. “We are excited to enter into this collaboration with the outstanding research team at the University of Pennsylvania.”
Both parties will actively commit resources and proprietary science to develop and preclinically test these cell therapy treatments. The efforts in the University of Pennsylvania will be led by researchers and scientists from the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies in the Abramson Cancer Center and the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine of the Perelman School of Medicine.
“Preclinical data to date demonstrate that CAR-MILs have several advantages over CARs developed from peripheral blood lymphocytes,” said Kimberly Noonan, Ph.D., M.P.H., executive vice president, chief scientific officer and co-founder of WindMIL Therapeutics. “These advantages, together with the inherent antitumor properties of MILs, lead us to believe that CAR-MILs have the potential to be a more potent and effective option for cancer patients. We look forward to more fully exploring this research pathway with our partners at Penn.”
About Marrow-Infiltrating Lymphocytes (MILs™)
Marrow-infiltrating lymphocytes (MILs™) are developed through a proprietary process to activate and expand memory T cells found in the bone marrow into MILs. Distinguishing features of bone marrow T cells include their memory phenotype, inherent tumor antigen-specificity, higher CD8:CD4 ratio and ability to persist long term when compared to peripheral blood lymphocytes. Because memory T cells in bone marrow occur as a result of the immune system’s recognition of tumor antigens, MILs are specifically suited for adoptive cellular immunotherapy and directly eradicate or facilitate eradication of each patient’s unique cancer. MILs are being investigated in clinical studies as ‘non gene-modified’ therapeutics and are under development as an alternative and potentially superior cell source to peripheral blood T cells for CAR-T therapy (CAR-MILs™). WindMIL believes that the unique aspects of the respective profiles of MILs and CAR-MILs position them in distinct areas of the oncology treatment landscape. WindMIL is currently studying the use of MILs to treat patients with multiple myeloma, non-small cell lung cancer, squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, and glioblastoma, and plans to expand into other solid tumors. To date, more than 100 patients have received treatment with MILs and ongoing studies continue to build upon the favorable safety profile and promising efficacy seen in early development.
About WindMIL Therapeutics
WindMIL Therapeutics is a clinical-stage company developing a novel class of autologous cell therapies based on marrow-infiltrating lymphocytes (MILs™) for cancer immunotherapy. As the leader in bone marrow-derived T cell therapies, WindMIL translates novel insights in bone marrow immunology into life-saving cancer immunotherapeutics for patients. The company’s proprietary process to activate and expand these cells offers unique immunotherapeutic advantages, including inherent tumor-specificity, high cytotoxic potential and long persistence. For more information, please visit: https://windmiltx.com.
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