How can manufacturing of T cell therapies be improved?
This was a key question at a workshop organised by the CellFIT project in Trondheim last week. The seminar brought together project partners and experts as they tried to address one of the biggest challenges for cell-based cancer therapy – efficient and scalable production.
“One of the key reasons why patients relapse after CAR T-cell therapy is that the therapeutic T cells do not persist in the patients after infusion. We know that patients that have cancer-reactive stem-cell like memory T cells respond better to treatment and these cells persist for a very long time, but these cells are rare. In the CellFit project we will optimize T cell manufacturing to produce more of these T cells for therapy. OUS has a central role in CAR-T cell development and manufacturing, and can test this in patient T cells,” commented Else Marit Inderberg, PhD, Senior Scientist, Group Leader, Head of Immunomonitoring, Department of Oncology, Cellular Therapy, Oslo University Hospital.
ThermoFisher is one of the project partners and contributes with innovative reagents to ensure optimal growth factors for the cells.
“The Thermo Fisher Scientific team greatly appreciated the workshop and opportunity to meet face-to-face with the team and workshop participants. The presentations were of high quality covering important parts of cell therapy development from the development of novel CAR-T receptors, high-complex assays and initiatives to bring new cell therapies to patients via the ACT center. Already looking forward to the next workshop!” commented Tuva Holt Hereng, Senior Manager R&D Cell Therapy at Thermo Fisher Scientific.
The day before the workshop, project partners were given a tour of the SINTEF Labs in Trondheim.
“It was great to welcome both the CellFit team and the workshop participants in Trondheim! Being close to the SINTEF labs a facility tour was a nice way to show some of the infrastructure used for high-throughput process development for the CellFit project. We also got great speakers that showed us the forefront of T-cell therapy development, which was both inspiring and very impressive,” commented Hanne Haslene-Hox, PhD, Senior Research Scientist, SINTEF.
To improve therapeutic efficacy, increased collaboration between manufacturers (industries) and patient treatment centers (hospitals) is needed.
“Supporting the scientists and stakeholders in the CellFit Project will help to assure that we reach collective goals. Oslo Cancer Cluster supports this project by providing advisory and opportunities for dissemination of knowledge to the wider oncology ecosystem,” commented Charlotte Wu Homme, Head of Membership and Events, Oslo Cancer Cluster.
The primary aim for the CellFit project is to define optimal growth conditions for improved manufacturing of therapeutically active T cells. Established in 2021 and funded by The Research Council of Norway, the CellFit Project is a collaboration led by Oslo University Hospital, Department of Cellular Therapy. The project includes project partners Oslo Cancer Cluster, SINTEF, and Thermo Fisher Scientific.
For more information, please visit the CellFIT website.