NKT Project

Program for Medical Innovations

NKT cells are known to enhance immune responses. The medical innovation groups in IMS have launched projects aimed at application of NKT cells to cancer and allergic disease as follows.

Based on previous success using NKT ligand, α-galactosylceramide (α-GalCer)-loaded dendritic cells (DCs) against advanced lung cancer, IMS started a new collaboration with the National Hospital Organization of a randomized phase IIa trial in early stage lung cancer and also a phase IIa trial for head and neck cancer, in collaboration with Chiba University. Second, based on two previous studies in which they demonstrated the efficacy of human iPS-derived T cells (Cell Stem Cell 2013) and mouse iPS-NKT cells (JCI 2010), IMS will establish human iPS-NKT cells. This IMS iPS project on NKT cell-targeted therapy has been accepted as a Center for Clinical Application Research in the Research Center Network for Realization of Regenerative Medicine, Japan in 2013. Third, they previously established artificial adjuvant vector cells against cancer that are composed of tumor mRNA and α-GalCer leading to activation of both innate and adaptive immunity. IMS has been working on preclinical studies with the human artificial adjuvant vector cells and have begun discussions about preclinical studies with the Pharmaceuticals and Medical Devices Agency (PMDA). Forth, IMS has developed a new chemical compound that selectively induces apoptosis of IgE B cells, resulting in the preferential suppression of IgE production. A contract between a pharmaceutical company and IMS for a drug applicable for asthma, pollinosis or food allergy has been made.

Figure: NKT projects in IMS as translational research
Four different NKT translational research projects have been launched in IMS. Three projects are for cancer treatment and one project is for treatment of allergic diseases.

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