Wednesday, October 16, 2019
WindMIL Therapeutics and the University of California, Irvine (UCI) today announced that the first patients have been identified in an investigator-sponsored study for the collection of bone marrow from patients with gliomas. The study will evaluate generating marrow infiltrating lymphocytes (MILs™) for these patients through WindMIL’s proprietary cellular activation and expansion process. The study is being conducted at UCI.
“Patients suffering with glioblastoma are in great need of new, promising treatments that might advance the current standard of care,” said Daniela A. Bota, MD, PhD, director of the UCI Health Comprehensive Brain Tumor Program, senior associate dean for clinical research, UCI School of Medicine and clinical director, UCI Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center. “The University of California, Irvine is excited to play a key role in research that may lead to a clinical trial that enlists the immune system in novel ways to fight this terrible disease.”
Gliomas are the most common of the malignant brain tumors. Glioblastoma, the most common glioma, has a five-year survival of less than 5 percent. Additional treatment options are urgently needed for these patients. Adoptive immunotherapy is a possible approach for gliomas and the use of MILs, a cell therapy that is naturally tumor-specific, is one such treatment option.
The bone marrow is a unique niche in the immune system to which antigen-experienced memory T cells traffic and are then maintained. WindMIL has developed a proprietary process to select, activate and expand these memory T cells into MILs. Because memory T cells in bone marrow occur as a result of the immune system’s recognition of tumor antigens, MILs are specifically suited for adoptive cellular immunotherapy and are able to directly eradicate or facilitate eradication of each patient’s unique cancer. WindMIL is currently studying MILs in multiple myeloma, non-small cell lung cancer and squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck, and plans to expand into other solid tumors.
“WindMIL is looking forward to working with the University of California, Irvine on this exciting project and is optimistic that MILs may offer the potential to help patients with these hard-to-treat diseases,” said Monil Shah, PharmD, MBA, Chief Development Officer at WindMIL.