ImmunoCellular Therapeutics has entered into a sponsored research agreement with Dr. Cassian Yee at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. Yee is an internationally recognized researcher and leading expert in identifying and isolating cytotoxic T cells. He serves as professor, department of melanoma medical oncology, division of cancer medicine, as well as professor, department of immunology, division of cancer medicine, and director, solid tumor cell therapy, center for cancer immunology research, at MD Anderson.
Yee will focus on identifying T cells that strongly bind and kill tumor cells expressing an undisclosed target antigen. Then the T cell receptors (TCRs) will be sequenced and their corresponding DNA will be placed into stem cells to create preclinical therapeutic candidates for further evaluation. The ultimate goal of the work is to enable a clinical program based on hematopoietic stem cells that are isolated from the patient, engineered in the lab and then returned to the patient to create a population of antigen-specific killer T cells that target and kill the tumor. ImmunoCellular’s Stem-to-T-cell platform technology has the potential to overcome the issue of short-lived T cell responses seen with the present forms of T cell and CAR-T therapies.
“With our lead phase III program ICT-107 underway and financed, we are now focusing additional resources and attention on moving our Stem-to-T-cell program toward clinical development,” said Andrew Gengos, ImmunoCellular chief executive officer. “Our collaboration with Dr. Yee and MD Anderson is an important step in our efforts to build a leading cancer immunotherapy company, and we look forward to potentially establishing more collaborations and bringing additional promising technologies into ImmunoCellular.”