‘Off-the-shelf’ stem cell treatment for cancer enters clinical trial
Researchers at the University of California (UC) San Diego School of Medicine started a clinical trial with industrial collaborator Fate Therapeutics to investigate NK cells both alone and in combination with checkpoint inhibitors in people with advanced solid tumors.
Indeed, this “off-the-shelf” NK immunotherapy trial is the first of its kind in the U.S. , using cells derived from induced pluripotent stem (iPS) cells.
In addition, medical practitioners already use a patient’s own stem cells or stem cells from a healthy, live donor. Besides, this personalized treatment is common with current cell therapy applications. However, it is not yet covered by insurance despite the many trials showing positive outcomes for patients across a range of medical conditions.
On the other hand, researchers can produce an almost infinite amount of cells by using iPS cells. Moreover, what is needed is a robust method to turn iPS cells into the particular cell type that they require.
Furthermore, this phase I trial started in February and will include up to 64 people with advanced, untreatable cancer. The primary goal of the trial is to assess the safety of the new treatment technique. Moreover, other objectives include the extent to which the tumors respond to NK cell therapy and to discover how long the cells stay in the participants’ bodies.
Finally, the expectations for the study, which will continue into 2022, are high. Consequently, this trial could illustrate the way not only for a new generation of immunotherapies to treat cancer but also for other iPS-derived cell therapies to follow.