CRISPR and Massachusetts General Hospital partner to develop T-cell therapies


CRISPR Therapeutics has entered a new research collaboration and licence option agreement with Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Centre (MGHCC) to develop new T-cell therapies for cancer.

CRISPR is a Swiss biopharmaceutical company focused on developing transformative gene-based medicines for serious diseases using its latest CRISPR / Cas9 gene-editing technology that enables precise, directed changes to genomic DNA.

Researchers are currently working on the technology to create effective human therapeutics for several serious diseases.

Under the collaboration, the two organisations will use CRISPR / Cas9 gene editing to improve current T-cell therapies in development in order to address the unmet medical requirements for both hematologic and solid tumours.

The research will be led by MGHCC Cellular Immunotherapy Programme director and Harvard Medical professor Dr Marcela V. Maus.

CRISPR Therapeutics immuno-oncology research and translation head Dr Jon Terrett said: “It is becoming increasingly clear that CRISPR / Cas9 can play a major role in enabling the next generation of T-cell therapies in oncology.

“By combining our gene editing capabilities with Dr Maus’ pioneering expertise in T-cell therapy, we hope to accelerate our progress toward making these therapies a reality for patients suffering from cancer.”

"By combining our gene editing capabilities with Dr Maus’ pioneering expertise in T-cell therapy, we hope to accelerate our progress toward making these therapies a reality for patients suffering from cancer."

The current partnership between CRISPR Therapeutics and Massachusetts General Hospital will enable the biopharmaceutical company to expand its drug development programmes into a wider set of tumour types and molecular targets.

Maus said: “We have already seen the profound benefit that T-cell therapies can have for certain patients with a specific set of tumour types.

“Now the potential with gene editing, and specifically CRISPR / Cas9, exists to create improved versions of these cells that may work for a wider variety of patients with a more diverse set of tumour types.”

CRISPR recently entered a service agreement with MaSTherCell to develop allogeneic CAR-T therapies, including CTX101, targeting CD19 positive malignancies.


Image: Scanning electron micrograph of a human T-cell. Photo: courtesy of NIAID/NIH.