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The Basel-based startup Cimeio has been offered an exceptional opportunity for a preclinical research collaboration with the University of Pennsylvania, with the aim of further investigating its novel immunotherapy. This has the potential to treat various types of blood and bone marrow cancers.

Cimeio Therapeutic, headquartered in Basel with a subsidiary located in Cambridge, Massachusetts, is to carry out further research and evaluate its novel, universal immunotherapy for the treatment of various types of blood and bone marrow cancers in conjunction with a team from the University of Pennsylvania (Penn). This team, headed up by Saar Gill, associate professor of medicine and a researcher at the university’s very own Perelman School of Medicine will combine its proprietary CAR T cell technology with the approach of Cimeio, further details of which can be found in a press release.

The aim of both teams is to develop a stem cell therapy that eliminates cancer cells and protects healthy cells. Moreover, both approaches share one aspect in common, in that they are both based on epitope-editing technology.

Novel approach to immunotherapy

For CAR T cell therapy pursued by Saar Gill’s team, T cells from a patient’s blood are converted into what are known as CAR T cells in the lab and then implanted back in the patient. These synthetic T cells have the ability to identify diseased cells and neutralize them. This is a veritable breakthrough in cancer therapy.

The Cimeio approach uses the epitope-editing receptor CD45, which is found on the surface of all healthy blood stem cells as well as the cells of many blood and bone marrow cancers. “By exchanging a single amino acid on a cell surface receptor, we discovered we could prevent potent immunotherapies from binding to and depleting healthy cells in vitro and in mouse models”, comments Dr. Lukas T. Jeker, co-founder of Cimeio and professor of experimental transplantation immunology and nephrology at the Department of Biomedicine of the University of Basel and at University Hospital Basel. “It’s exciting to be working with the Penn scientific team to evaluate this novel approach to immunotherapy.

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