CEL-SCI has been awarded a phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant for $225,000 from the National Institute of Arthritis Muscoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS), part of the NIH. The grant will fund the further development of CEL-SCI’s LEAPS technology as a potential treatment for rheumatoid arthritis (RA), an autoimmune disease of the joints. According to Visiongain, the world RA drug market will generate revenues of $38.5 billion in 2017.
The work will be conducted at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago in the laboratories of Tibor Glant, M.D., Ph.D., the Jorge O. Galante professor of orthopedic surgery; Katalin Mikecz, M.D., Ph.D., professor of orthopedic surgery & biochemistry; and Allison Finnegan, Ph.D., professor of medicine.
The NIH grant was awarded based on preliminary data by Glant’s team in collaboration with CEL-SCI showing that the administration of a proprietary peptide using CEL-SCI's LEAPS technology prevented the development, and lessened the severity including inflammation, of experimental RA when it was administered after the disease was induced in animals.
“These findings, in conjunction with the results from previously conducted studies with LEAPS vaccines in other RA models, suggest that LEAPS vaccines may be used as a therapeutic treatment for different types of RA. LEAPS vaccines may be advantageous to other therapies because the LEAPS vaccines act early on the immune system and inhibit the production of disease-promoting inflammatory cytokines, unlike anti-Tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNFa) therapy, which generally acts late and neutralizes only one individual inflammatory cytokine out of many involved in the disease process,” said Daniel Zimmerman, Ph.D., CEL-SCI’s senior vice president of research, cellular immunology.
Zimmerman said, “The successful conclusion of this round of studies in this autoimmune disease could take LEAPS closer to human studies and open its development to various other autoimmune diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, uveitis, colitis (inflammatory bowel disease) and certain types of diabetes.”