The ability to produce cytokines at physiological concentrations in patients could be of benefit in at least two major areas: (i) boosting or improving immune responses as a result of vaccinations etc (important for combatting infectious agents as well as of potential use in combination with therapeutic vaccines for the treatment of tumours) or (ii) to directly combat tumours. Immunostimulatory cytokines have been administered to boost the immunogenic potential of other agents such as immune checkpoint-blocking antibodies, anticancer vaccines, oncolytic viruses and immunogenic chemotherapeutics.
Cancer therapy relevant therapeutic cytokines include alpha/beta interferons, interleukin-2 (IL-2), gamma interferon and interleukin-12 (IL-12). Indeed, a number of cytokines have been used for cancer treatment including interferon alpha (IFN-α), interferon beta (IFN-β), interferon gamma (γ-IFN) and interleukin-1 (IL-1) as well as IL-2, and IL-12. These cytokines demonstrate their efficacy by inducing apoptosis alerting cell mediated tumor killing and other anticancer functions in tumor microenvironment
Cells overexpressing specific cytokines could be injected into the patients body and Cell-in-a-Box® will ensure long term survival of the transplanted cells, as well as release of the cytokines through the porous shell of the capsule.
To demonstrate the use of Cell-in-a-Box® technology, we have for instance shown that encapsulated cells can be used to produce Interleukin-2 and GM-CSF in a controlled manner. Given the excellent safety record of Cell-in-a-Box® in patients, these data suggest that clinical usage of the technology should be rapid.