Healios bets on natural born killers

Healios is turning to natural killer cells (NK) to develop a range of new treatments which target solid tumours.

Regenerative medicine innovator Healios KK has announced the development of iPSC derived gene-modified NK cell development targeting solid tumors. The company is already moving ahead with its efforts to create next generation immunotherapies for solid tumors by combining its iPS cell and gene editing technology expertise.

The company’s regenerative medicine pipeline is currently pre-clinical.
Now the Japanese company is adding to the development of allogeneic, iPS cell derived gene-modified natural killer (NK) cells to its pipeline [1].

NK functions - Healios
Image of NK cell functions- Healios

Longevity.Technology: Natural killer (NK) cells are a subset of a type of white blood cell called lymphocytes. NK cells are integral to a cell mediated defence system that are naturally occurring in human bodies and attack cancer cells and virus infected cells. These NK cells have been shown to extend life, promote healing, relieve symptoms and improve the quality of life of patients; enormous potential for future growth.

Healios will develop iPSC derived cells to deliver new treatments for patients suffering from refractory cancers. They will begin promoting research and development for a next generation cancer immunotherapy using allogeneic, iPSC derived NK cells that have had specific functions reinforced using gene editing technology in order to target solid tumors. They expect to enter the Japanese and United States markets.

Healios believe they are onto a good thing. According to GBI research, the cancer immunotherapy market is set to surge over the next four years from £33bn to more than £100bn [2]. Molecular targeted agents and immunotherapy have already improved results of cancer treatment; however, the field is still in need of further treatment methods, especially when it comes to solid tumors, which appear in organs and systems other than blood.

As we’ve covered elsewhere in longevity, Healios KK are working to bring their novel regenerative therapies to market. It is, they say, is an area of tremendous unmet need and there is considerable potential.

[1] https://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/announcement-of-ipsc-derived-gene-modified-nk-cell-development-targeting-solid-tumors-300984855.html
[2] https://www.pharmaceutical-technology.com/research-reports/cancer-immunotherapies-drugs-market/