NantKwest says next gen NK Cell therapy poised to transition into human trials
NantKwest announced in a paper published in the journal Oncotarget results of a research study conducted at the National Cancer Institute in collaboration with scientists at NantKwest and NantCell. In this research study, aNK cells, lacking CD16, were engineered to express the high affinity CD16 receptor and further engineered to express IL-2. These high affinity NK cells have been shown in previous studies to enhanced perforin and granzyme-mediated killing of tumor cells, as well as support the expansion of NK cell populations. Study results showed high levels of granzyme activity in haNK cells and demonstrated the effects of irradiation on haNK cell in multiple phenotypic markers, viability, IL-2 production, and cell killing in a wide range of human tumor cells. The study also compared endogenous irradiated haNK cell killing of tumor cells with that of irradiated haNK-mediated ADCC using cetuximab, trastuzumab and pertuzumab monoclonal antibodies. Patrick Soon-Shiong, MD, PhD, Chairman and CEO of NantKwest and a co-senior author on the paper said: "Ongoing preclinical studies using haNK cell therapy in combination with antibody therapy offer the promising potential to enhance the clinical efficacy of either agent alone and become a part of the standard-of-care for cancer patients. With this foundational data in place, we on now focused on rapidly transitioning our haNK program into human clinical trials over the next few months."