BOSTON, MA, October 25, 2018 – Mitra Biotech today announced a collaborative research partnership with Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Department of Neurosurgery to further transform personalized immuno-oncology drug development.
The agreement, with Dr. Sean Lawler, PhD, Assistant Professor of Medicine and Managing Director of the Harvey Cushing Neuro-oncology Laboratories at the Brigham, is to evaluate oncolytic viruses that have been developed in the Department of Neurosurgery at the hospital. These novel engineered versions of the Herpes Simplex Virus 1 (HSV-1), which have been extensively characterized preclinically, are capable of selective infection and replication within tumor cells, and can stimulate the immune system. Clinical trials are now underway at the Brigham to investigate oncolytic viruses in patients with the aggressive and incurable brain tumor glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).
To better understand how oncolytic viruses work in human GBM patients, Dr. Lawler is leveraging Mitra’s CANscript platform to study their biological mechanisms of action, with the goal of identifying key features involved in response to oncolytic virus therapy.
“Currently, there is a lack of reliable methods to study oncolytic viruses in the laboratory that directly translate to in vivo human activity,” says Dr. Lawler. He continues, “CANscript allows us to have insight into what type of patients produce response. For the first time, we may be able to predict how these oncolytic viruses might work in actual human patients, which helps us better determine trial populations.”
Mitra’s CANscript platform is a human, immune-relevant ex vivo model that allows researchers and drug developers to understand the performance of novel agents, such as oncolytic viruses, in human tissue, providing an informed approach to clinical development and patient response. CANscript is a uniquely effective platform in which to test such an immune response because it recreates the in vivo tumor microenvironment, maintaining the heterogeneity of the tumor while preserving its immune compartment.
“We’re excited to be positioned at the forefront of immuno-oncology with a partner such as Brigham and Women’s Hospital. We believe this unique partnership will allow us to study how the virus behaves at the individual patient level, and therefore help us predict which patients would benefit from therapy,” said Aaron Goldman, PhD and Director of R&D and Immuno-oncology at Mitra Biotech.