Atara Biotherapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ:ATRA) has announced the release of efficacy and safety data of its First Phase ATA 188 study in progressive forms of multiple sclerosis treatment. The company’s ATA188 is an off-shelf allogeneic EBV-specific T-cell immunotherapy.
Atara reports positive Phase 1 ATA188 study data
According to data presented, ATA188 demonstrated that it was well tolerated in all the four-dose cohorts. A higher percentage of the patients showed sustained disability improvements after six months, with an increased dosage that was maintained for 12 months in the three cohorts that have attained the 12 months. The company presented the results which were featured in an e-poster during the European Academy of Neurology (EAN) 6th Congress virtual meeting held between May 23 and May 26, 2020.
The development of multiple sclerosis requires more than one causative factor, but EBV is the major risk factor that has been identified to date that seems necessary for multiple sclerosis. Usually, EBV-infected cells, especially B-memory cells that have been immortalized with infection of EBV, are said to be very vital in the immune cascade that is responsible for progressive and relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis.
The attainment of interventions which depletes the peripheral B cells shows the significance of the cells in the pathophysiology of multiple sclerosis. ATA188 provides an exceptional approach with the possibility of selective targeting of EBV-infected B cells as well as plasma cells in the CNS and circulation.
Encouraging study results for randomized placebo-controlled ATA188 trial
Lawrence Steinman, who is a Neurology and Neurological Sciences, Paediatrics and Genetics Professor at Stanford University, indicated that the approach targeting infected EBV B cells has resulted in encouraging initial results. He added that ATA188 was well tolerated and safe in the four cohorts of the Phase 1a study. Lawrence added that the positive results, as well as the sustained disability improvement, witnessed after six months and maintained after 12 months, is an indication of an opportunity to move into a randomized placebo-controlled ATA188 trial for the treatment of progressive MS patients.