Biotechnology company Cynata Therapeutics (ASX: CYP) has published encouraging results from its ongoing preclinical program using its proprietary Cymerus platform.
The company said it was able to successfully develop genetically engineered mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) using the Cymerus platform that could establish a means of expressing diagnostic and therapeutic anti-cancer agents.
Also, its engineered cells showed highly promising therapeutic benefits in different mouse tumour models which the company says bodes well for its promising new approach towards developing breakthrough cancer treatments as part of its “pipeline strategy”.
The preliminary studies confirmed that the Cymerus platform can be successfully engineered to express transgenes “in a stable manner” and that engineered Cymerus MSCs persist in vivo for a sufficient length of time to facilitate a “statistically significant therapeutic effect” in a preclinical model of glioblastoma, considered to be the most aggressive cancer that begins within the brain.
In the second stage of the program, engineered Cymerus MSCs were shown to cause a “significant reduction in the viability of human glioblastoma cells” when compared to either the control group or to direct administration of the therapeutic protein.
Cynata also reported that it was able to achieve a significant reduction in the viability of human melanoma cells compared to the control group. Furthermore, Cynata said that in an in vivo mouse model of glioblastoma, tumour progression was slower in mice that received the engineered Cymerus MSCs compared to those receiving the control.
Cymerus technology attempts to address a critical shortcoming in existing methods of production of MSCs for therapeutic use — the ability to achieve economic manufacture at commercial scale.
Cynata says that Cymerus uses induced pluripotent stem cells to produce what’s known as a “mesenchymoangioblast MSC precursor” which means the technology could provide an off-the-shelf stem cell platform for therapeutic product use.
On a broader basis, Cynata’s lead product candidate – CYP-001 – met all clinical endpoints and demonstrated positive safety and efficacy data for the treatment of steroid-resistant acute graft-versus-host disease (GvHD) in a phase 1 trial.
Cynata plans to advance its Cymerus MSCs into phase 2 trials for GvHD and critical limb ischemia having already demonstrated the utility of its Cymerus MSC technology in preclinical models of asthma, critical limb ischemia, diabetic wounds, heart attack and cytokine release syndrome, a life-threatening condition stemming from cancer immunotherapy.
Today’s published results indicate that Cynata’s Cymerus platform could potentially be harnessed to produce targeted anti-cancer therapies that offer superior medical benefits to existing conventional treatments – with a view of being offered to a wide range of patients, suffering from numerous different cancers in the long term.
According to Cynata’s vice president Dr Kilian Kelly, “this engineering technique could also facilitate the creation of novel engineered therapies for areas of high unmet need in other therapeutic areas”.
“Our results validate the use of this cell-based approach, as it provides a continuous pool of therapeutic protein around the tumour cells, circumventing the protein short half-lives. Overall, the study outcomes support the use of engineered Cymerus MSCs for cell therapy to target various malignancies,” according to Professor Khalid Shah, vice chair of research at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.