PRIME-XV T Cell Expansion XSFM is a medium optimized for the expansion of human T cells that reliably maintains potency, the company claims.
Jessie Ni, Chief Scientific Officer at Irvine, told BioPharma-Reporter that there has been “significant progression around T cell research” but the cell culture and media development “has not progressed too quickly” over the past 30 years.
Ni also stressed the advantages of media that don’t contain serum as there are “major concerns” around the potential for transmitted bovine diseases that the animal-derived components of a serum can cause, and serum can also contain “a lot of undefined components.” The potential shortage of serum also may drive the price up and hinder the final cost of the media, she added.
Immunotherapy has emerged as a potentially viable approach for treating some forms of cancer and by using a process called adoptive cell transfer (ACT), where T cells have been engineered to produce chimeric antigen receptors (CARs), a surface receptor that allows T cells to recognize tumor-specific proteins and kill targeted tumor cells. This method has generated positive results in small clinical trials, though to further support the research and development, efficient expansion of desired T cell subsets with proper potency is critical to ensure an adequate population of T cells with targeted specificity.
The promise of CAR-T (Chimeric Antigen Receptor transduced T) cells also has created high valuations for newly created companies such as Juno Therapeutics, Kite Pharma and Bluebird Bio. MD Anderson also licensed its CAR-T technology to Ziopharm and Intrexon in exchange for more than $100m in stock of both companies, while other companies are partnering to get in on the action, including Amgen and Novartis.
Part of the challenge to make CAR-T therapies “more clinically realistic” is to improve the performance of the media, Ni said, noting that this latest offering could mean lower volumes can be used, which would be more cost-effective for companies looking to scale up production.
“Immunotherapy offers significant hope, particularly in the area of novel cancer treatment options,” Ni added. “We have developed this new medium using the most up-to-date knowledge of T cell biology to deliver improved performance over serum-containing and other existing commercial xeno-free, serum-free media in supporting ex vivo quality expansion of various human T cell subsets.”