Most diseases have a component of immune dysregulation. As a living, anti-inflammatory therapy, Immplacate’s EMC therapy has potential application for a wide variety of diseases. We will initially focus on those listed below, with key input by our clinical and scientific advisors.
1) Acute Graft-vs-Host-Disease (aGHVD) is a common complication of allogeneic hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT; a.k.a. “bone marrow transplant), an intervention that can otherwise help to cure patients with both malignant and non-malignant hematological disorders. Passenger immune cells in the HCT recognize the patient as being “foreign” and attack, resulting in tissue damage, particularly of the skin, liver, and gastrointestinal tract. Because GvHD can be potentially fatal if left untreated, patients are given strong immunosuppression as treatment. The downside is that these medications increase the risk of infection. At Immplacate, we seek to demonstrate that our EMC therapy will prevent the initial onset of GvHD and lower the requirement for these other medications.
2) Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS) is an extremely common (>70%) side effect of CAR-T cell therapy. CAR-T cells are a promising new intervention for treating leukemia, but their application is likely to expand to other cancers in the coming years. Nevertheless, as a by-product of their high potency in killing tumors, massive amounts of cytokines can be released, which is called CRS. At its worst, CRS can become ‘cytokine storm’, which can be potentially fatal. CRS is currently treatable with drugs such as tocilizumab, but there are few studies on the best way to prevent it in the first place. Our goal relative to CRS is to prove that EMC therapy will prevent the severity of CRS (without impeding the CAR-T cells) if given before or with the CAR-T cell therapy.
3) Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE) is a complex, heterogeneous autoimmune disease that can affect any organ in the body. Patients may experience progressive/pervasive underlying organ dysfunction with periodic symptomatic flares. As a result, there is high morbidity, and many patients are not able to work or pursue their normal activities of daily living. We believe our EMC therapy can slow disease progression and lower the frequency of flares.