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Recommended reads: CAR-T for Lupus, CRISPR vision, journal closures – The Niche

Can researchers use CAR-T for lupus?

It’s always exciting when one’s home institution has an interesting new therapy in development.  Here at UC Davis Health, there has been an increasing stream of such encouraging trials in the pipeline. I’ve written before about the promising trial of stem cells for spina bifida. Now there’s news related to innovative work on CAR-T cells for lupus. Let’s start with that.

CAR-T for Lupus
Figure from Jin, et al. 2021, Cellular & Molecular Immunology.

CAR-T for lupus

A breakthrough for lupus treatment? Study explores CAR T-cell therapy for autoimmune disease, UC Davis. Here’s some of the key info on the new UC Davis trial:

“The new, industry-funded clinical trial with Cabaletta Bio is evaluating CABA-201, an investigational therapy in patients with either SLE or LN who have active disease. UC Davis Health is one of just nine health care institutions worldwide and the only hospital in the Western United States to participate in the clinical trial.

CABA-201 is a chimeric antigen receptor CAR T-cell therapy. Participants in the study will have their blood drawn and filtered through a machine in a process called apheresis. The procedure separates part of the blood such as platelets or white blood cells, while returning the rest of the blood to the body.

The trial will isolate T cells in the blood and researchers will genetically modify, or change, the T cells by putting in a “code” to add the CAR. This way, they can recognize, attack, and destroy the B cells in the participant’s body. This includes the “bad” B cells that engage in the participant’s autoimmune disease.”

Multiple teams around the world are working on this kind of approach to lupus.

I’ve been following other creative ideas for using CAR-T cells beyond treating cancers. One is the idea of deploying CAR-T cells against senescent cells. This could in theory help slow aging.

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