Nantkwest Inc (NASDAQ:NK) recently announced its collaboration with the National Cancer Institute through which the two are researching the effectiveness of PD-L1 t-haNK Natural Killer cells against cancer.
The partnership was announced through two manuscripts that were published by the Journal of Immunotherapy of Cancer. The two publications highlighted collaborative studies between Nantkwest and the National Cancer Institute to evaluate the company’s developmental PD-L1 t-haNK and NK cells. The goal of the research is to determine the impact of the NK cells on tumor activity in the hopes that the technology can yield more effective means of combatting cancer cells.
“These published studies provide important insight and validation for the mechanism and activity of our novel first-in-class engineered NK cells for use in notoriously difficult solid tumor types,” stated NantKwest CEO Patrick Soon-Shiong.
The CEO also pointed out that NK cells have the potential to kill tumor cells. He, however, noted that suppressive tumors tend to create an environment where the functions of the NK cells are limited. The collaborative research that NantKwest and the National Cancer Institute will embark on aims to facilitate more NK cell efficiency.
The data provided in the two publications highlight that NK cells demonstrate some activity even in a hypoxic environment. This is vital data because it will facilitate the development of a new mechanism for combatting tumor activity. Mr. Soon-Shiong also noted that the NK cells appear to demonstrate significant resistance even when the conditions are characterized by acute hypoxia. They are still capable of killing cancer cells even in such conditions, which means that they can be tuned to be efficient cancer killers even in conditions that are similar to those of suppressive tumors.
The CEO also reported that the National Cancer Institute researchers observed significant ability to combat tumor tissues in the research that they conducted using the technology on all cancer cell lines. He also added that the combination of Nantkwest’s haNK cell line with PD-L1 t-haNK and in-vivo solid tumor models represents an entirely new and innovative approach to cancer cell targeting. It is a great way to combat cancer cells that evolve to become resistant to checkpoint immunotherapy, antibody therapy, and chemotherapy.