London – LIfT BioSciences, a biotech company developing a first in class innate cell therapy with the potential to destroy all solid tumours, irrespective of strain or mutation today announced that their flagship cell therapy, N-LIfT, has demonstrated migration to the human pancreatic tumour site, successfully infiltrating the orthotopically grown tumour in nude mice.
The tumour was grown over two weeks before mice were given a single dose of two billion N-LIfT cells via the tail-vein.
Pancreatic cancer is among the most difficult to treat, with five-year survival rates of under 5% in most countries. In 2020 alone, nearly half a million people have been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and the vast majority are unlikely to survive for a full year. Pancreatic cancer is often diagnosed late and the site of the tumour is difficult to infiltrate because it is surrounded by a network of non-malignant cells that act as a protective barrier. Infiltrating the tumour is, therefore, difficult for traditional and novel therapies alike.
Chimeric antigen receptor T cells (CAR -T), which are genetically engineered to express a receptor that recognizes a specific antigen, have been proven successful in treating haematological malignancies. However, there is little evidence that those cells can successfully treat solid tumours and, particularly, pancreatic cancer.
"CAR T's rely on being pre-programmed to find and destroy cells with a specific marker on their surface, however, this approach has not been very successful in treating solid tumours” said Alex Blyth, CEO of LIfT BioSciences. “Unlike cancers such as leukaemia or lymphoma in which the tumour cells universally express the B-cell marker CD19, solid tumours rarely express one specific antigen. They tend to display a large degree of antigen heterogeneity and they are constantly mutating. Targeting a few antigens is like developing a few keys when there are many ever changing locks."
Patrick Burgermeister, Partner at Kizoo Technology Capital commented: “LIfT deliberately avoids targeting specific molecules and engages the innate immune system against cancer. We consider this a highly promising approach against a disease that constantly mutates and, hence, presents a ‘moving target’. We are proud to be investors in this approach that is potentially efficacious across most cancer types."
Why is N-LIfT (Neutrophil based Leukocyte Infusion Therapy) different?
N-LIfT (Neutrophil Only Leukocyte Infusion Therapy) is produced from the stem cells of exceptional cancer killing donors, who have no family history of cancer, to produce special neutrophils in the body of patients. The cell therapy is allogeneic and is utilising the innate immune system of these exceptional donors to directly attack the tumour and recruit the patients’ own immune system to join the attack.
"N1a neutrophils have 10-20 times the cancer killing ability you might see in a cancer patient. Once in the body, N-LIfT proliferates into billions of N1a neutrophils that will seek, infiltrate and destroy threats such as cancer cells. They do not appear to be limited to specific antigens like more targeted pre-programmed therapies are, so they destroy all cancer cells rather than just the selection they are programmed to attack. Due to millions of years of evolution, some people won’t get cancer in their lifetime. We are aiming to bring what the few have naturally to the many who don't. This is the first-time that anyone has ever seen images of human neutrophils produced ex-vivo infiltrating pancreatic human cancers we are all very excited about this and what comes next as we now move into efficacy studies" commented Alex Blyth.
The image below shows a tissue sample from the pancreas of a Nude Athymic Mouse with orthotopic human pancreatic tumour cells (condensed blue mass) surrounded by blood vessels (green) with N-LIfT cells (pink) having infiltrated into the pancreatic tumour site. It is evident that neutrophils are attracted to the tumour site, as they are much more heavily concentrated in and around tumour sites than in healthy tissue.
Fig 1. Zoom in on human pancreatic tumour site in mouse
The work builds on the success LIfT BioSciences has already had in showing exceptional selective in-vitro cancer cell killing across a range of tumours, including pancreatic, liver and lung tumours. LIfT builds on an existing evidence base of independently conducted studies into exceptional neutrophils efficacy in cancer that showed 100% sustained remission in mice (Cui 2006) and up to 80% tumour necrosis in end-stage metastatic patients in just two weeks of therapy (Maharaj 2017).
LIfT BioSciences also announced that it has developed a cost-effective and scalable way to produce and store N-LIfT and that it is looking to develop a next generation iPSC version of N-LIfT in collaboration with Kings College London’s Centre for Cell Therapies & Regenerative Medicine.
LIfT BioSciences is now preparing to undertake a significant Series A financing round in 2021 to further develop its manufacturing technology and fund human clinical trials. LIfT BioSciences is looking to demonstrate in-vivo superiority over standard of care in Pancreatic Ductal Adenocarcinoma (PDAC), Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC) and Hepatocellular Carcinoma (HCC). Additional venture capital and private family wealth funds are invited to join the investment syndicate.
About LIfT BioSciences:
LIfT Biosciences is a UK-based biotech company bringing to market a 1st in class allogeneic innate cell therapy called Neutrophil Only Leukocyte Infusion Therapy (N-LIfT). N-LIfT has the game-changing potential to destroy all solid tumours irrespective of mutation or strain. N-LIfT uses a special type of N1a neutrophil with special cancer killing and immune recruitment capabilities. LIfT BioSciences was founded by Alex Blyth following the death of his mother to pancreatic cancer. LIfT Biosciences is backed by a strong network of investors including venture capital firms Kizoo Technology Capital, Downing Ventures and entrepreneur Jonathan Milner.
Kizoo provides mentoring and seed and early-stage financing with a focus on rejuvenation biotechnology. Having been entrepreneurs, VCs, and mentors in both high-growth tech and biotech companies for many years, with multiple exits and massive value created for the founders, Kizoo now brings this experience to the emerging field of rejuvenation biotech – a young industry that will eventually become much bigger than today’s largest technology markets.
As part of the Forever Healthy Group, Kizoo directly supports the creation of startups turning research on the root causes of aging into therapies and services for human application. Investments include FoxBio, Turn.bio, Elevian, Oisin Biotechnologies, Underdog Pharmaceuticals, MAIA Biotechnology, REVEL Pharmaceuticals, and others.
Forever Healthy’s other initiatives include the evaluation of new rejuvenation therapies, evidence-based curation of the world’s cutting-edge medical knowledge, funding research projects on the root causes of aging, and hosting the annual Undoing Aging Conference.
Managing Director, Kizoo Technology Capital
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Alex Blyth +44 (0)7718 759116
CEO, LIfT Biosciences
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