Mark Addleman

12 January 2023

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Hadassah together with Bar Ilan University have successfully developed an immunotherapy treatment for Multiple Myeloma by “reprogramming the immune systems” of cancer patients, with a US-based pharma company licensing it for commercialisation. The treatment involves removing healthy white blood cells — T-cells — from cancer patients and adding an artificial molecule before returning the cells to the body. The molecule gives the T-cells powers to recognise and kill cells that cause Multiple Myeloma, a bone marrow cancer.


Hadassah Medical Centre in Jerusalem tested the therapy with different dose levels and found that, when given at the highest strength, 57 % of Multiple Myeloma patients went into remission. Some 90% of patients given the high dose saw an improvement in their condition. Partial results from the ongoing study, which involved 60 cancer patients, have been peer-reviewed.


The innovation arms of  Hadassah Medical Centre and Bar Ilan announced that they have signed a deal with Los Angeles-based Immix BioPharma for the further development and commercialisation of the therapy. It is named HBI0101, with the first three letters referencing Hadassah and Bar Ilan.


The trial is continuing at Hadassah, where Prof. Polina Stepensky, Head of Bone Marrow Transplantation and Cancer Immunotherapy and co-inventor of the treatment, said: “We are very excited by the outstanding interim results of our ongoing study in Multiple Myeloma and Amyloidosis patients. This has the potential to improve the lives of so many patients globally.”



What is immunotherapy?


Immunotherapy normally involves injections of cells or the administration of drugs that block some proteins that patients naturally produce, so their immune systems work better in targeting the cancer cells.


A newer form of immunotherapy called CAR T-cells involves the use of receptors — molecules inside or on the surface of a cell that bind to a specific substance. These receptors are called chimeric antigen receptors, or CARs. They have two functions: They bind to cancer cells, identifying them as a target for the immune system, and they boost the immune system by activating T-cells to attack the target.


“This is very exciting, and represents the first immunotherapy cancer therapy treatment of its type developed entirely in Israel,” said said Prof. Cyrille Cohen of Bar Ilan University, who co-invented HBI0101 together with Prof. Polina Stepensky of Hadassah, predicting that it could be in mainstream use within five years. “… I believe this treatment will help many people and save many lives. It works by reprogramming the immune system of patients and enabling it to effectively target cancer,” added Cohen.


Editor’s Notes

Watch the video above with Prof. Cyrille Cohen to learn more about this exciting new treatment – source: Flipboard

An excerpt from an article by NATHAN JEFFAY – TIMES OF ISRAEL

Read the full story HERE

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