Scientists at Oslo University Hospital (Norway) have developed a new chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) targeting B-cell non-Hodgkin lymphoma (B-NHL) by combining the antibody binding region of an anti-CD37 antibody and the signaling regions of a T cell receptor. CD37 is a marker specific for B cell lymphoma, alongside CD19 and CD20, which are examples of more established markers. CD37 represents an attractive alternative target as suggested by our expression data where CD37 is shown to be stronger and more stable among lymphoma patient groups than other targets. We have accomplished pre-clinical validation experiments and demonstrated efficacy in a mouse model, as well as specificity, and safety.
This technology represents an opportunity to develop a new immunotherapy for patients with relapsed/refractory B-NHL after treatment with CD19 CAR-T cells (or after other treatments that has resulted in loss of CD19).
Our results demonstrate that CD37 CAR-T cells effectively eradicate B-cell lymphoma tumors when CD19 antigen expression is lost and support further clinical testing for patients with relapsed/refractory B-NHL. The patent covers the use of the CD37 CAR in combination with any effector cell (T cells and NK cells), potentially covering both autologous and allogenic therapies.
For more information on the CD37 CAR see Köksal et al, Blood Advances, 2018.
A patent family based on WO2017118745 has entered national phase in US, CA and EP.
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