Our Approach to Cell Therapy for Cancer

We are developing novel allogeneic, autologous and genetically modified gamma-delta T cell therapies designed to improve the lives of cancer patients.

Key elements of our approach to treating cancer include:
  • Harnessing the inherent power of gamma-delta T cells
  • Increase the effectiveness of standard-of-care therapies to treat solid tumor cancers
  • Utilize our genetically modified drug resistant immunotherapy (DRI) to destroy cancer cells in combination with chemotherapy
  • Focus on scalable manufacturing

The Innate and Adaptive Immune System

The innate immune system is a first line of defense for the body. It mobilizes quickly against pathogens and other threats and alerts other elements of the immune system so that they can become involved. Natural killer (NK) cells, dendritic cells and other elements of the innate immune system are activated by stress signals caused by pathogens and cancer cells. These innate immune system cells subsequently attack and kill pathogens and cancer cells; send signals via molecules such as cytokines; and activate other parts of the immune system. Importantly, the innate immune system presents cytokines, antigens and other components of pathogens and cancer cells to the body’s adaptive immune system, which is comprised of T cells and other cells that deepen and broaden the immune response. Once the innate immune system has been activated, the adaptive immune system then sends effector cells to seek out and destroy specific antigens and the cells that express them. The adaptive immune system also provides durable immune memory using, for example, memory T cells. The important components of the adaptive immune system include antibodies, which are produced by B cells and bind to antigens and mark them for destruction by other immune cells, and T cells, which recognize antigens on diseased cells with their own receptors and attack and eliminate them. The adaptive immune response is targeted and potent and has the potential to provide a long-lasting immune memory.

Gamma-delta T Cells: The “Unconventional” T Cell

Gamma-delta T cells, known as the “unconventional” T cell, are an emerging therapeutic class of immune cells that have characteristics of both the innate and the adaptive immune systems. Although circulating gamma-delta T cells account for only up to approximately 10% of the average human total T cell population, they play a central role in the body’s immune response. Gamma-delta T cells are multifunctional and also possess properties of both NK and dendritic cells. Unlike the more widely known alpha-beta T cells, which only recognize specific antigen peptides presented to it by other antigen-presenting cells, gamma-delta T cells recognize molecular signals related to cellular stress and both process and present antigens to other immune cell types. Based on their unique properties that bridge between innate and adaptive immunity, we believe that gamma-delta T cells have inherent advantages over other types of immune cells used in cell therapies for the treatment of cancer, including T cell receptors, or TCRs, and CAR-modified alpha-beta T cells and NK cells.