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What have been the biggest advances in your field over the past few years?

Sean MackayThe ability to use genetic adjustment techniques to tune the responses of immune cells to target cancer has been one of the most impactful applications of genetic and engineered therapies to date. We’ve seen that this ability has led to complete responses in patients in a variety of blood cancers that were otherwise considered incurable. Innovations to further tune and edit therapies potentially allow new modalities of delivery, beyond autologous cell therapies toward those that are “off the shelf.” These innovations are leading to what will likely be, in the long term, cures for difficult-to-treat cancers.

What products/services do you offer to support the industry?

Our technology employs single-cell proteomic analysis to figure out the range of cytokines that have been secreted by each edited immune cell. It’s been used in a variety of cases to determine if edited cells are potent enough to achieve responses in mice and patients. The platform measures the cytokines in each cell both to orchestrate the entire immune system and also to deliver the payload to the tumor. Our data has revealed subsets of potent cells that are unique to patients responding to the therapy. Using our high-dimensional data from each cell, researchers are tuning their processes as they’re developing cell therapies to achieve the most potent functional responses to improve outcomes for patients.

What’s your vision for the future of the field over the next 5–10 years?

First, a mix of impactful biological innovations will contribute to the improvement of gene
editing in immune and other patient cells to make more targeted therapies that will combine with immunomodulatory therapies to orchestrate a complete immune response to tumors. Second, tools like our single-cell systems will couple with these targeted therapies to enable a new era of precision medicine. By understanding the immune fitness of each patient, and the status of the tumor microenvironment, tailored approaches will address specific immune and disease states to create optimal patient outcomes across cancer indications.

What are the most exciting products, services, or initiatives in development?

We’ve been developing the ability to look at the functional states of a variety of edited innate cell types, like NK cells and monocytes. In addition to the adaptive immune cells that are typically the focus in immunotherapy, we’ve been showing that these innate cells also play a critical role in the orchestration of the immune system. We also have products that look at the range of intracellular metabolomic and phosphoproteomic landscapes and how these metabolites and phosphoproteins functionally interact within activation pathways. We’ll be able to better understand how to tune cells if we can proteomically understand how these gene edits functionally affect the signaling cascades downstream, leading to therapeutic solutions in a variety of indications.

 

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