CRISPR has been tested in US patients for the first time — but perhaps not in the manner you imagined. The University of Pennsylvania has led the way dosing two patients with relapsed cancers — one with multiple myeloma and one with sarcoma — with a T cell therapy in which the T cell receptor and PD-1 protein are edited out.
Funding for the trial came partly from Tmunity, a biotech co-founded by Penn’s CAR-T visionary Carl June and helmed by Novartis vet Usman “Oz” Azam. Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, an early investor in Tmunity, is also bankrolling the trial. A Penn spokesperson confirmed the news, which was first reported by NPR.
The basic idea here is not unlike CAR-T, except with different elements and technologies: Take a patient’s T cells, engineer it to express NY-ESO-1 TCR, while eliminating TCR and PD-1 originally on the surface using CRISPR.
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