Unfortunately, new cancer therapies often fail when ultimately compared against traditional chemotherapies. Chemotherapies have been a staple of cancer therapy for decades because they initially work, often by tumor de-bulking and through under-appreciated immune activating mechanisms. While chemotherapy can effectively shrink tumors, such therapies can also kill the white blood cells that are crucial to an effective immune response.

Clinical data from cellular therapies and chimeric antigen receptor T cell (CAR-T) therapies in solid tumor cancers demonstrate that intra-tumoral heterogeneity and immunosuppression are significant barriers to successful tumor immunity. Invariably, cellular therapies can select for tumors that do not express their targets and immunosuppressive cells such as regulatory T cells (Tregs) can effectively shut down the immune response.

We think the future will entail combinations with multiple modes of therapy and our technology uniquely allows us to simultaneously combine high-dose chemotherapy with immunotherapy to modify the tumor microenvironment, drive the immune system through a DNA damage response, reduce immunosuppression and create synergies. In combination with checkpoint inhibitors, we believe our technology may create a signal that allows us to direct immune activity against cold, low mutation tumors, where checkpoint inhibitors currently have little activity.

Source: BioPharma Dealmakers, September 2019

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