Akron Biotech was proud to be a sponsor of this year’s Innate Killer Summit held in San Diego, California. The Innate Killer Summit is the leading, dedicated end-to-end meeting serving as a catalyst to ensure successful clinical and commercial translation of NK cell immunotherapies. The most current and advanced clinical data was presented as well as innovative methods for preparation and administration of NK cell therapy. Companies including Fate Therapeutics, CytoSen, and NantKwest as well as research institutions such as the University of Minnesota and MD Anderson Cancer Center presented their innovations, collaborations, and contributions to the advancement of NK cell therapy.
Hot topics that were discussed included membrane-bound cytokines, checkpoint blockade, antibody-dependent cell-mediated cytotoxicity (ADCC), tumor microenvironment, NK maturation and education, killer cell immunoglobulin-like receptor (KIR) and human leukocyte antigen (HLA) expression. In a forum on evaluating the challenges that limit NK cell efficacy in a clinical trial, a panelist remarked, “If we are smarter about tumors, we can be smarter in the way that we treat them.” In addition to conversations surrounding the biology of NK cells, the summit highlighted clinical and manufacturing difficulties. Strategies for engineering NK cells to take advantage of and enhance their innate immune response were discussed. Expressed within these discussions were the challenges of treatment production and administration. Regarding the production of adequate cell therapies, we heard the need to improve the processes for scale-up, selection, expansion, and cryopreservation. Concerning therapy administration, there were repeating concerns on dosage, cytokine dependency, maintenance and persistence of infusions, underscoring the need to ensure that therapies are being optimized for safety and efficacy. Case studies were presented that provided insight to the need for cGMP ancillary materials for cell culture such as media and cytokines and closed systems to enable a seamless transition from research to clinical.
Overall, the summit underscored the promise of NK cell therapy as an off-the-shelf, allogenic immunotherapy option and highlighted the hurdles in bringing these products to market. See what Claudia Zylberberg, Akron Biotechnology CEO, had to say about some key issues and questions arising in the NK therapy space.
Akron Biotech is pleased to be able to help overcome challenges in improving the mode of immunotherapy by providing GMP grade cytokines and media for the manufacturing of cell therapy. Contact us to learn more.