New combination immunotherapy plus ART expand innate cells critical to controlling HIV

Yerkes National Primate Research Center researchers in collaboration with Institut Pasteur have determined a combination immunotherapy of Interleukin-21 (IL-21) and interferon alpha (IFNα) when added to antiviral therapy (ART) is effective in generating highly functional natural killer (NK) cells that can help control and reduce simian immunodeficiency virus (SIV) in animal models. This finding, published online today in Nature Communications, is key for developing additional treatment options to control HIV/AIDS, which impacts 38 million people worldwide. ART is the current leading [...]

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Now proven against coronavirus, mRNA can do so much more

(CNN)When the final Phase 3 data came out last November showing the mRNA vaccines made by Pfizer/BioNTech and Moderna were more than 90% effective, Dr. Anthony Fauci had no words. He texted smiley face emojis to a journalist seeking his reaction. This astonishing efficacy has held up in real-world studies in the US, Israel and elsewhere. The mRNA technology — developed for its speed and flexibility as opposed to expectations it would provide strong protection against an infectious disease — has [...]

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‘Natural killer’ cells found to be a key determinant of severe COVID-19 in patients

Findings hoped to lead to new biomarker to identify patients at higher risk. November 30, 2020 By Ross Neitz An impaired count of natural killer (NK) immune cells and reduced ability to destroy infected cells are key characteristics of severe COVID-19 infection, according to newly published research in the journal Blood Advances. A team of researchers at the University of Alberta and University of Calgary followed 12 patients with severe COVID-19 symptoms at hospitals in Edmonton. They found that the patients had [...]

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Immunity after COVID-19 illness may last at least 1 year

By Ernie Mundell Long-term data from northern Italy—an area hit hard during the early days of the pandemic—suggests that reinfection after recovery from COVID-19 infection is very rare, and immunity in former patients could be long-lasting. “Natural immunity to SARS-CoV-2 appears to confer a protective effect for at least a year, which is similar to the protection reported in recent vaccine studies,” concluded a team led by Dr. Nicola Mumoli, of Fornaroli Hospital in Magenta, Italy. The findings, which are based on [...]

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FDA clears IND application for CAR-natural killer cell therapy to treat B-cell malignancies

The FDA cleared an investigational new drug application for NKX019, a chimeric antigen receptor-natural killer cell therapy for patients with relapsed or refractory B-cell malignancies, according to the agent’s manufacturer. NKX019 (Nkarta) is an allogeneic, gene-edited CAR-natural killer (NK) cell therapy that targets the CD19 protein on the surface of cancer cells. Source: Adobe Stock. The therapy — derived from the peripheral blood of healthy donors — includes Nkarta’s propriety membrane-bound interleukin-15 activation cytokine to promote NK cell growth and enhanced CAR-NK cell persistence. The [...]

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Allogeneic Natural Killer Cells Engineered to Beat Cancer

POWER OF NATURAL KILLER CELLS Cell therapy, a new approach that uses immune cells to attack tumors, has emerged as one of the most promising breakthroughs in cancer treatment. First generation approaches have focused on T-cells, which have shown great promise in hematologic malignancies but are plagued with unwanted side effects and, to date, have not shown similar activity in solid tumors. Nkarta was founded to address these limitations through the application of next generation technologies. NK cells are the body’s first [...]

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Natural killer cells lull tumours into dormancy

Natural killer cells can drive spreading cancer cells to enter a state of dormancy. That finding, together with the discovery of a pathway that hinders this antitumour function, could spur the development of new treatments. Noella Lopes & Eric Vivier Efforts to treat tumours that have spread from their initial site in the body to grow elsewhere are often unsuccessful. Such tumours, called metastases, are the main cause of cancer-related deaths, so finding a way to control them is crucial to [...]

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Antibody-laden nasal spray could provide COVID protection — and treatment

Scientists create a hybrid antibody that can sharply cut the amount of SARS-CoV-2 in the lungs of infected mice. Diana Kwon Antibodies swarm a SARS-CoV-2 particle (artist’s impression). A bioengineered antibody can block the virus from taking hold in the lungs of mice.Credit: KTSDesign/Science Photo Library A nasal spritz of a designer antibody offers strong protection against variants of the coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 — at least in mice1. Since the early days of the pandemic, scientists have been developing antibodies as treatments for COVID-19. [...]

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1323P Natural killer cell activity as a prognostic biomarker in non-small cell lung cancer patients treated with check-point inhibitors

Background Immunotherapy has improved survival for patients with incurable non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). The only validated biomarker is tumour PD-L1 expression. The aim of the present study was to evaluate NK cell activity as a prognostic biomarker in patients with NSCLC treated with PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitors. Methods Enrolled patients were eligible for PD-1/PD-L1 inhibitor treatment (any line). NK cell activity was estimated using 1 ml of blood. Blood was sampled into special tubes (NK Vue® tubes) and placed in an incubator at [...]

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NK cells with bispecific antibody show activity against lymphoma cells

A CD16+ NK cell (blue) bound with AFM13 (red) works to eliminate a CD30+ lymphoma cell (yellow) through interactions at the immune synapse (pink). Credit: Pinaki Banerjee, Ph.D. Cytokine-activated natural killer (NK) cells derived from donated umbilical cord blood, combined with an investigational bispecific antibody targeting CD16a and CD30 known as AFM13, displayed potent anti-tumor activity against CD30+ lymphoma cells, according to a new preclinical study from researchers at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. The findings were published [...]

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