Rebalancing the Immune System
T-Cell therapeutic program with potential for a range of autoimmune diseases
Athelos, a NeoStem company, is seeking to develop therapies using a person’s own cells to treat disorders of the immune system. In collaboration with Becton, Dickinson and Company, a global medical technology company, Athelos’ technology platform offers the potential to treat many diseases that result from an imbalance in the immune system when inflammatory cells go unchecked. Therapies using regulatory T cells, or “Tregs” represent a novel approach to restoring balance in the immune system. By enhancing Treg cell number and function to inhibit pathogenic immune responses, Treg therapies offer the potential to treat many autoimmune diseases.
In an exciting development, Athelos announced its collaboration with the University of California, San Francisco and the laboratories of Jeffrey Bluestone, PhD, and Qizhi Tang, PhD on the development of Tregs for the treatment of type 1 diabetes (“T1D”), steroid resistant asthma, and organ transplant rejection. This collaboration advances Athelos’ Treg program towards a clinical Phase 2 trial that will evaluate the efficacy of autologous Tregs in T1D and includes research efforts to develop the next generation of Treg products for therapeutic use. The team will collaborate on:
- manufacturing a Treg product consisting of polyclonally expanded Tregs for the planned Phase 2 trial to treat patients newly diagnosed with T1D,
- researching allo-specific Tregs for organ transplant tolerance
- sponsoring a potential clinical study on the use of Tregs for the treatment of steroid resistant asthma.
Through exclusive world-wide licenses to more than 20 issued patents, Athelos has secured the rights to a broad patent estate within the Treg field, covering isolation, activation, expansion and methods of treating or preventing certain conditions and/or diseases using Tregs. The latest research demonstrates that:
- In pre-clinical studies,Tregs have been shown to be important in modulating autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.
- Tregs have been evaluated in early phase human clinical trials and have been shown to be safe with suggestions of clinical benefit in graft-versus-host disease.
- Tregs have demonstrated the ability to treat conditions such as diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease and organ transplant tolerance in animal models of disease.
To further complement Athelos’ development efforts in the field of Treg therapy, Athelos has established consulting relationships with key thought leaders in the industry, including David Horwitz, MD, Chief of the Division of Rheumatology and Immunology at the University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine; and Bruce Blazar, MD, Chief of Blood and Marrow Transplantation and Director of Center of Translational Medicine, Masonic Cancer Center, University of Minnesota.