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A Study in Nature Communications Reports that NeoImmuneTech's NT-I7 Enhances CAR-T Cell Expansion, Persistence and Anti-tumor Activity

·6 min read
  • NT-I7 enhanced the efficacy of CAR-T therapy against acute myeloid leukemia and B cell lymphoma, significantly prolonging survival in murine models.

  • NT-I7 significantly increased the expansion and persistence of the CAR-T cells, leading to at least a five-fold reduction in the minimum number of CAR-T cells needed at time of infusion to elicit prolonged survival.

  • NT-I7 enhanced CAR-T cells irrespectively of the targets or tumor types, demonstrating the broad applicability of NT-I7 for cellular therapy.

ROCKVILLE, Md., June 14, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- NeoImmuneTech, Inc. (NIT or "NeoImmuneTech"), a clinical-stage T cell-focused therapeutics company, reported that Nature Communications (Impact Factor: 14.92) published the results of an in vivo study combining the long-acting human IL-7, NT-I7, with chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells directed against CD19+ B cell lymphoma and acute myeloid leukemia.

The study led by Dr. DiPersio and his team at Washington University investigated the impact of NT-I7 on in vivo CAR-T cell expansion and anti-tumor response employing sophisticated models of B cell lymphoma or acute myeloid leukemia and an immune competent syngeneic model of acute promyelocytic leukemia. Utilizing these tools, the group tested whether NT-I7 could expand a less differentiated CAR-T product with improved durability and tumor killing abilities in multiple models of hematological cancer.

Over the past 10 years, CAR-T cell therapy has become routinely used to treat patients with refractory hematologic malignancies. Despite progress, long-lived memory responses and long-term in vivo persistence of CAR-T cells have yet to be consistently achieved to prevent tumor cell escape and clinical relapse.

In the study reported in Nature Communications, NT-I7 protected CD19-targeting CAR-T cells from cell death, enhancing their viability while promoting their expansion in the presence of CD19+ tumor cells. CAR-T cells expanded in the presence of NT-I7 were less differentiated but with equivalent effector cytokine secreting abilities. Treatment of tumor bearing mice with NT-I7 enhanced in vivo expansion and subsequent anti-tumor effects of CAR-T cells targeting CD19+ B cell lymphoma or CD33+ acute-myeloid leukemia. The combination of NT-I7 and CAR-T cells dramatically extended survival. Impressively, co-treatment of tumor bearing mice with NT-I7 reduced the minimum number of CAR-T cells needed to achieve a survival benefit by imparting increased tumor killing abilities to CAR-T cells on a per cell basis and expanding CAR-T cells in vivo. These studies provide compelling evidence that NT-I7 has the potential to enhance CAR-T therapy for the treatment of hematological diseases by promoting CAR-T anti-tumor activity, expansion and persistence.

Dr. Se Hwan Yang, Ph.D., President and Chief Executive Officer of NeoImmuneTech, Inc. said: "This Nature Communications article highlights the exciting properties of NT-I7 that can increase CAR T cells' functionality and cytotoxicity. Those results demonstrate the broad applicability of NT-I7 for cellular therapy, in addition to its well-documented benefits as a long-acting human IL-7 that has the potential to amplify T cells across the subsets, boost the immune system, and enhance the anti-tumor response in people with hematologic malignancies and solid tumors."

This study presented in Nature Communications demonstrates the potential for NT-I7 to support impactful clinical use of multiple CAR-T therapies with improved safety and tolerability. Strategic combination of NT-I7 with CD19-targeting CAR-T cells is currently being tested as part of a multi-site clinical trial (NCT05075603) for the treatment of relapsed/refractory large B-cell lymphoma. At ASCO 2022, poster #239b presented the most advanced updates on this study (NIT-112) that aims to show if NT-I7 may increase expansion and persistence of CAR-T, leading to increased tumor response rate and improved clinical outcomes without safety concerns.

Reference: Kim, M.Y., Jayasinghe, R., Devenport, J.M. et al. A long-acting interleukin-7, rhIL-7-hyFc, enhances CAR T cell expansion, persistence, and anti-tumor activity. Nat Commun 13, 3296 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-022-30860-0

About chimeric antigen receptor (CAR-T) cells therapies

CAR-T cell therapy is a type of treatment in which a patient's T cells (a type of immune system cell) are changed in the laboratory so they will attack specific cancer cells. T cells are taken from a patient's blood. Then the gene for a special receptor that binds to a certain protein on the patient's cancer cells is added to the T cells in the laboratory. The special receptor is called a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR). Large numbers of the CAR T cells are grown in the laboratory and given to the patient by infusion. Chimeric antigen receptor T-cell therapy is used to treat certain blood cancers, and it is being studied in the treatment of other types of cancer.

About NT-I7 (efineptakin alfa) (rhIL-7-hyFc)

NT-I7 (efineptakin alfa) is the only clinical-stage long-acting human IL-7, and is being developed in oncologic and immunologic indications, where T cell amplification and increased functionality may provide clinical benefit. IL-7 is a fundamental cytokine for naïve and memory T cell development and for sustaining immune response to chronic antigens (as in cancer) or foreign antigens (as in infectious diseases). NT-I7 exhibits favorable PK/PD and safety profiles, making it an ideal combination partner. NT-I7 is being studied in multiple clinical trials in solid tumors and as vaccine adjuvant. Studies are being planned for testing in hematologic malignancies, additional solid tumors and other immunology-focused indications.

About NeoImmuneTech, Inc.
NeoImmuneTech, Inc. (NIT) is a clinical-stage T cell-focused biopharmaceutical company, dedicated to expanding the horizon of immuno-oncology and enhancing immunity to infectious diseases. NIT is led by the scientific founder and inventor of NT-I7 (efineptakin alfa) and has a strong executive team with rich industry experience. NIT is expanding rapidly in personnel and operations, as well as partnering with industry and academic leaders to investigate NT-I7 as monotherapy and in combination with various immunotherapeutics. For more information, please visit www.neoimmunetech.com.

Forward-looking Statements

The statements contained herein may contain certain forward-looking statements relating to NeoImmuneTech, Inc. (the "Company") that are based on its beliefs and expectations about the future. These forward-looking statements are based on a number of assumptions about the future, some of which are beyond the Company's control and are not a guarantee of future performance or developments. Such forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated by the relevant forward-looking statements. The Company does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events that occur or circumstances that arise after the date of these documents. Accordingly, you should not place reliance on any forward-looking information or statements contained herein.

Some of the data contained in these documents were obtained from various external sources, and the Company has not independently verified such data. Accordingly, the Company makes no representations as to the accuracy or completeness of the data, and such data involves risks and uncertainties, and is subject to change based on various factors.

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SOURCE The NeoImmuneTech, Inc