Immunotherapy of cancer: Gadeta BV and UMCU exploit a novel therapeutic approach with potential broad anti-tumor reactivity
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The ongoing defense against life-threatening pathogens and cancers
Our immune system is constantly at work in an effort to protect us from threatening pathogens such as viruses, bacteria and other microbes. Only recently, it has been understood that our immune system plays a key role also towards the prevention and development of tumors.
Adoptive Cell Therapy on the fronts in the war against cancer
Cancer Immuno-therapy allows tumor targeting by boosting the patient’s own immune system.
Breakthroughs results were recently obtained using a number of different approaches including a very fascinating one: Adoptive Cell therapy. This methodology involves extracting lymphocytes (immune cells) from a patients body, which are then “boosted” ex vivo in a laboratory (here immune cells are “taught” how to attack tumors), and returned to the patient’s body.
Today we had the chance to visit Gadeta BV, a clinical stage Utrecht biotech company committed to produce a very promising Adoptive Cell Therapy approach.
Learning from Nature
The technology platform of Gadeta is based on a discovery by Prof. Dr. Jürgen Kuball at the University Medical Centre Utrecht (UMCU). In essence, a rare lymphocyte protein (called γδ, Gamma-Delta Receptor) was discovered in nature to mediate efficient tumor destruction (referred as cytotoxicity).
Gadeta Technology have developed a promising method capable of producing a very large number of immune cells empowered with this naturally occurring anti-tumor mechanism.
Ex-vivo “boosted” Immune cells, the final product, are called TEGs (T cells Engineered to express a defined Gamma-delta receptor) and are ready to be returned into the patient body within few days.
Talking to one of the founders
When did you start thinking of exploiting this discovery into a therapeutic approach?
We asked Tol Trimborn, founder and Chief Operational Officer at Gadeta.
“I started brainstorming with prof. Kuball about this idea in 2015. At that time, we were considering also different approaches but, in the end, we decided to focus on TEGs production”.
Why GADETA as a company name?
“The name Gadeta was suggested by Giovanni Mariggi (founder investor), summarizing in a way our core tech: GAmma DElta TherApy”.What is in your opinion the main difference as compared to already existing cellular therapies?
In general, explains Tol, Gadeta approach remains more physiological implying natural activation mechanisms and therefore potential less side-effects. In addition, TEGs activity is not bound to a particular type of cancer. “Our tumor targets can be very broad. We have already shown reactivity towards Colon, Ovarian, Pancreatic, Breasts Cancers as well as non-solid malignancies such as Multiple Myeloma and Acute Myeloid Leukemia”.
How long does it take to produce a “ready-to-go” TEG-drug?
The second generation of TEGs, explains Tol, is performed in a fully automated process that takes place in a machine called Prodigy. “TEGs can be ready for infusion as early as 8-9 days”.
Which clinical studies are planned to take place?
“A clinical trial has already been started at the UMCU with our 1st drug generation on Relapse-Refractory Multiple Myeloma and Acute Myeloid Leukemia Patients. We are about to initiate a similar trial in United States using our 2nd generation drug. No data are available to be shared yet.”.
How do you foresee the future of Gadeta?
“Bright”, answers Tol. He explains that the Californian company Kyte Pharma is heavily sponsoring their R&D process. He adds that the Discovery team of Gadeta is working to find new exploitable Gamma-Delta receptors and new mechanisms to improve product efficacy.In general, how close are we to find a cure for cancer?
“It is hard to say, Cancers are very heterogeneous and they continuously evolve to find ways that circumvent therapies. Our cellular drug can offer a solid new layer for fighting against cancer”.