Genetically Modified KITE-585 Therapy Increases Survival in Mice with Myeloma, Study Shows

Inês Martins, PhD avatar

by Inês Martins, PhD |

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Myeloma therapy promising

Kite Pharma’s genetically modified T-cell therapy KITE-585 has delayed tumor progression and increased survival in mice with multiple myeloma, according to a preclinical-trial study.

The company presented the findings in a verbal presentation and poster session at the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) 2017 Annual Meeting in Washington April 1-5.

KITE-585 is a CAR T-cell therapy, or one that involves genetically modifying T-cells in a lab to better recognize cancer cells. Scientists engineer T-cells from a patient’s own blood so they will express a chimeric antigen receptor, or CAR, that is specific to a certain cancer protein. Then they return the cells to the patient’s body.

Scientists designed KITE-585 to recognize cancer cells expressing the B-cell maturation antigen protein. Myeloma cells express the protein, also known as BCMA, on their surface.

Gregor Adams noted in the Washington conference’s oral presentation that KITE-585 killed more than 95 percent of multiple myeloma cells grown in a lab. A single intravenous injection of anti-BCMA CAR T-cells delayed tumor progression and increased survival in mice with myeloma, compared with controls, he added. His presentation was titled “Development of KITE-585: A fully human anti-BCMA CAR T-cell therapy for the treatment of multiple myeloma.”

The poster session dealt with KITE-585’s ability to target cancer cells that express BCMA without affecting normal cells. Kite assessed this with Retrogenix cell microarray technology, which covers all targets that CAR T-cells recognize. The poster session was titled “Selectivity and specificity of engineered T cells expressing KITE-585, a chimeric antigen receptor targeting B-cell maturation antigen (BCMA).”

Kite said the results support its plans for Phase 1 clinical trials of KITE-585 as a multiple myeloma treatment.

“These promising preclinical data presented at AACR suggest the potential of KITE-585 to offer a one-time treatment to address the high unmet need in multiple myeloma, an incurable blood cancer,” David Chang, MD, PhD, Kite’s chief medical officer, said in a press release. “The roadmap developed for the clinical development and manufacturing expertise of axicabtagene ciloleucel will be invaluable as we accelerate KITE-585 into the clinic [clinical trial phase] later this year.”

Kite expects to file an investigational new drug (IND) application for KITE-585 this year. U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval would allow the company to move the therapy into clinical trials.