Could reprogramming macrophages help fight cancer?
Impressive pre-clinical trials by the Israeli pharmaceutical company have reaffirmed the concept of reprogramming macrophages for the treatment of some cancers. If it proves effective in current clinical trials, the concept could transform the cancer therapy landscape.
Meet Enlivex Executive Chairman, Shai Novik, who has a decades-long track record in biotech and life sciences, including founding PROLOR Biotech, a company that developed a growth hormone for children, that eventually went public and was sold for $560 million. He also led the formation of a strategic partnership between PROLOR and Pfizer for continued development of the growth hormone drug during his time with the company. The drug, named NGENLA, has recently received marketing approvals in various jurisdictions including Australia, Canada, Japan and Europe.
Now, Novik hopes to help treat cancer patients that don’t respond well to other treatments, such as chemotherapy or radiation.
Meet Shai Novik on Sept. 12 at the Jerusalem Post Annual Conference. Watch live here >>
The drug: Allocetra
The company’s drug is modulating macrophages, immune cells that are essential in detecting foreign threats and attacking them - and telling the other cells what they need to do, too. However, with cancer, sometimes cancer cells can manipulate these macrophages and convince them that the cancer is normal or good. This means, the macrophages will not send out instructions to destroy and the cancer will continue to spread.
Enlivex’s drug, Allocetra, formulated from healthy donor cells, is used to reprogram the patient’s own macrophages so that they should attack the cancer cells.
Allocetra helps the host’s macrophages recognize the cancer for what it is and can improve the body’s response to cancer treatments.
In pre-clinical trials, including one conducted with Yale Cancer Center, Allocetra when combined with a traditional anti-PD-1 inhibitor improved the survival rate of mice with ovarian cancer from 10% to 50%.
A separate trial targeted mice with mesothelioma with a combination anti-CTLA-4 inhibitor and Allocetra, improving the survival rate of the rodents from 0% to between 60% and 100% remission and survival, depending on the dose received.
'I am a deep believer'
While Novik said that no cancer treatment can cure all patients, he is hopeful that Enlivex’s Allocetra will play a key role in improving people’s lives.
“I am a deep believer that it will make a difference for patients,” he said.
How can you learn more about Enlivex? Watch Shai Novik on Sept. 12 at the Jerusalem Post Annual Conference. Learn more >>