MD Anderson company to develop cell therapies for cancer
Cell-based immunotherapies such as chimeric antigen receptors (CAR T), T-cell receptor (TCR) engineered T cells, tumor-infiltrating lymphocytes (TIL) and endogenous T cells (ETC) have demonstrated promise for treating cancer. Based on these advances, MD Anderson and Berkeley Lights Inc. have announced the launch of Optera Therapeutics Corp, a biopharmaceutical company that will develop cell therapies to treat patients with their own immune cells.
Through the venture, Berkeley Lights’ advanced cell therapy manufacturing systems will be applied to cancer cell therapies discovered at MD Anderson, with the goal of making these novel therapies accessible to many.
“MD Anderson is dedicated to improving the standard of care for our patients as we strive to realize our mission to end cancer,” says Patrick Hwu, M.D., head of Cancer Medicine. “Our hope is that – by combining our cell therapy research expertise with advanced automation capabilities – we will enhance our ability to deliver these treatments to every patient who needs them.”
MD Anderson and RaySearch Laboratories have announced a strategic alliance to enhance cancer radiation therapy through several initiatives, including targeting tumors with greater precision, and improving an existing therapy called adaptive radiation therapy (ART). The alliance also seeks to make ART, which currently is only used at highly specialized care centers, available to more patients.
Successful radiation therapy depends on the ability to pinpoint the exact location of the tumor. Since most radiation treatments are delivered over several weeks, a number of variables can compromise treatment accuracy. Traditionally, additional margins are set around the target area to allow for tumor movement and variations in how patients are positioned during treatment.
However, these margins do not always compensate for unexpected changes in the tumor and surrounding normal tissue over the full course of radiation treatment. ART uses frequent imaging to give an up-to-date assessment of physical changes and enable precisely tailored treatment for each patient.
The alliance builds upon a previously established relationship between RaySearch and MD Anderson centered on RayCare®, RaySearch’s new oncology information system. This new collaboration combines MD Anderson’s clinical data and expertise with the latest technology and platforms available through RaySearch and will focus on the following areas:
Integration of advanced imaging into the treatment planning process to help define the tumor targets better.
Management of changes in the tumor that may occur during treatment, and monitoring and adjusting treatment to accommodate each patient’s individual circumstances at any point during therapy.
Building software components with the aim of creating a new standard of care in radiation therapy.
“The technology to perform ART has been around for a number of years and studies have demonstrated its advantages,” says Caroline Chung, M.D., assistant professor of Radiation Oncology. “However, it is a complex process that has not yet been broadly adopted in clinical practice and is largely limited to highly specialized care centers. The goal of this collaboration is to establish a methodology and workflow, clinically tested at MD Anderson, which can be streamlined and automated to enable adaptive radiation therapy on a larger scale.”