View all newsletters
Receive our newsletter – data, insights and analysis delivered to you
  1. News
May 23, 2022updated 30 May 2022 11:47am

City of Hope develops new immunotherapy to treat Covid-19

In humanised mice infected with live SARS-CoV2 virus, CAR-NK cells offered a lower viral load and extended survival.

Scientists at City of Hope in the US have developed a novel immunotherapy that could offer a new treatment pathway for treating Covid-19 and other infections.

The immunotherapy leverages natural killer (NK) cells with a specific molecule that can act on the spike protein of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.

The study adds to the expertise of City of Hope in utilising CAR T cell therapy, natural killer cells and other immunotherapies to aid in detecting better therapies for cancer and other ailments.

NK cells are lymphocytes in the body that detect and quickly act on abnormal cells, including virus-infected cells. 

These cells are universal killers in the immune response of the body against some viruses or tumours, however they are not specific against SARS-CoV-2.

Furthermore, Covid-19 patients have substantially fewer numbers of NK cells, studies showed. 

In the latest study, researchers at City of Hope demonstrated that altering the NK cells genetically with a chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) that ‘sees’ the SARS-CoV-2 virus boosts survival in virus-infected animals.

The researchers isolated NK cells from umbilical cord blood for the study and utilised them to produce CAR-NK cells. Subsequently, the cells were engineered to express ACE2 receptors, a protein that detects and binds to the virus to enter a cell. 

The CAR-NK cells leverage the ACE2 receptor to bind to SARS-CoV2’s spike protein and attack the virus.

The modified NK cells were administered to Covid-19-infected humanised mice. 

According to the findings, a lower viral load and extended survival was observed in the animal models. 

The team plans to obtain clearance to utilise their CAR-NK cell product to treat moderate- to high-risk Covid-19 patients in the future.

City of Hope National Medical Center president Michael Caligiuri said: “The importance of this off-the-shelf therapy is that one does not need to use one’s own cells — the cells can be frozen and ready to go, locally or shipped anywhere around the world.”

Cell & Gene Therapy coverage on Pharmaceutical Technology is supported by Cytiva.

Editorial content is independently produced and follows the highest standards of journalistic integrity. Topic sponsors are not involved in the creation of editorial content.

Free Whitepaper

Secure the cell therapy supply chain from bench to bedside

The development of cell therapies is changing healthcare, delivering new hope to thousands of patients around the world. The vein-to-vein workflow for these therapies, however, is not without challenges, many of which will increase as we scale up to treat more patients. Download this free guide from Cytiva to learn more about the challenges and risks associated with the cryogenic supply chain for cell therapies, and how supply chain disruptions can best be mitigated.
by Cytiva Thematic

By clicking the Download Free Whitepaper button, you accept the terms and conditions and acknowledge that your data will be used as described in the Cytiva Thematic privacy policy By downloading this Whitepaper, you acknowledge that we may share your information with our white paper partners/sponsors who may contact you directly with information on their products and services.

Visit our privacy policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

NEWSLETTER Sign up Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. A weekly roundup of the latest news and analysis, sent every Friday. The pharmaceutical industry's most comprehensive news and information delivered every month.
I consent to GlobalData UK Limited collecting my details provided via this form in accordance with the Privacy Policy


Thank you for subscribing to Pharmaceutical Technology