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Thermo Fisher Scientific Acquires Leading Cell Sorting Technology from Propel Labs

Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (NYSE:TMO), the world leader in serving science, today announced it has acquired cell sorting technology assets from Propel Labs, a wholly-owned subsidiary of SIDIS Corp. Under the terms of the agreement, the recently introduced Bigfoot Spectral Cell Sorter and approximately 40 employees will become part of Thermo Fisher’s Biosciences business. Propel Labs will continue to operate as a separate entity and serve its existing customers.

“Cell sorting is an essential discovery tool used by many of our customers, allowing for the separation of specific cell types from complex samples. A first-of-its kind, the Bigfoot Spectral Cell Sorter brings more powerful sorting capabilities, faster throughput and novel safety features complementing our already strong flow cytometry offering,” said Mark Stevenson, executive vice president and chief operating officer of Thermo Fisher Scientific. “As the market for cell and gene therapies, immuno-oncology and other promising medicines drive increased expectations from researchers, we are really well positioned to support our customers in their work to improve healthcare outcomes.”

Researchers are asking for cytometry analysis and sorting techniques with greater multiplexing capabilities to gain deeper biological insights. Current tools only meet some of these challenges. The high-speed electronics and innovative design of the Bigfoot Spectral Cell Sorter accelerate sorting by up to 10 times that of other available technologies, while maintaining cell viability and improving ease of use. It also has an integrated Class II biocontainment system that eliminates the need for separate biosafety cabinets. With this new technology, researchers can study more cell populations from samples of limited quantity, enabling a better understanding of biological systems at a scale and resolution needed for advancing science.

Stevenson added, “We look forward to welcoming the highly talented members of the Propel Labs Bigfoot team who bring additional flow cytometry expertise, R&D capabilities and engineering strength to Thermo Fisher, helping to further elevate our cell analysis and cell therapy research business.”

The Biosciences business is part of the Life Sciences Solutions Segment.

(Source: PR Newswire, 2021)


Phase I Clinical Trial Shows Promise of Adipose-Derived Stem Cells In Treating Lymphedema

Can stem cells alleviate lymphedema, a chronic debilitating condition affecting up to one in three women treated for breast cancer? Results of a phase I clinical trial released today in STEM CELLS Translational Medicine (SCTM) show there is a strong possibility that the answer is yes.

Lymphedema is swelling due to a build-up of fluid in lymph nodes – vessels that help rid the body of toxins, waste, and other unwanted materials- usually occurring in an arm or leg. While it can be the result of an inherited condition, its most common cause in the Western world is the removal of or damage to the lymph nodes during the course of cancer treatment. The results can be both physical (the swollen area can be stiff and/or sore and there is an increased chance of infection) and cosmetic (the skin can become leathery and scarred, and the affected limb can be grossly swollen and deformed).

Mads Gustaf Jørgensen, M.D., of the Department of Plastic Surgery, Odense University Hospital in Denmark, is corresponding author of the study whose results are detailed in SCTM. “Patients with breast cancer-related lymphedema (BCRL) have reduced quality of life and arm function. Current treatments are palliative only. The focus is on controlling the condition through exercise, compression garments and pumps, manual drainage, meticulous skin care, therapy and a healthy lifestyle.

“However, while treatments to improve lymphedema are lacking, preclinical studies suggest that adipose-derived regenerative cells (ADRCs) can alleviate lymphedema,” he said. “We, therefore, aimed to assess whether ADRCs can alleviate lymphedema in clinical reality with long-term follow-up.”

The study’s primary endpoint was change in arm volume, with secondary endpoints of safety, change in lymphedema symptoms, quality of life, lymphedema-associated cellulitis and conservative treatment use.

To conduct their study, the team treated 10 BCRL patients with ADRCs – which are harvested from adult fat – and a scar-releasing lipotransfer to the axillary region. When they followed up with each patient at intervals of 1, 3, 6, 12 and 48 months post-treatment, they saw no significant decrease in BCRL volume.

“However,” Dr. Jørgensen said, “self-reported upper extremity disability and arm heaviness and tension improved. Six patients reduced their use of conservative BCRL treatment. Five felt that their BCRL had improved substantially, and four of these would redo the treatment. We did not observe any cases of locoregional breast cancer recurrence.”

“This has led us to conclude that axillary-delivered ADRCs and lipotransfer are safe, feasible and improved BCRL symptoms and upper extremity function. Their effectiveness was observed shortly after treatment and sustained for up to four years. Randomized controlled trials are needed to confirm the results of this study,” he added.

“These results are certainly promising because the therapy appears to be safe, feasible and minimally invasive,” said Anthony Atala, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of STEM CELLS Translational Medicine and Director of the Wake Forest Institute for Regenerative Medicine. “This study highlights the ability of these fat-derived stem cells to potentially alleviate lymphedema and cellulitis in patients. We look forward to the continuation of this research to further document clinical efficacy.”

(Source: Stem Cells Portal, 2021)


Tessa Therapeutics Announces Successful Dosing of First Patient Cohort in Phase I Allogeneic Cell Therapy Trial

Tessa Therapeutics Ltd. (Tessa), a clinical-stage cell therapy company developing next-generation cancer treatments for hematological malignancies and solid tumors, today announced the successful completion of dosing of the first patient cohort (n=3) in a Phase I dose escalation study, evaluating the safety and efficacy of Tessa’s TT11X – Allogeneic CD30-CAR Epstein Barr Virus Specific T-cell (EBVST) therapy.

The Phase 1 study being conducted at Baylor College of Medicine aims to enroll up to 18 patients with CD30+ lymphoma across three dose levels. Study objectives are to evaluate safety and efficacy and establish dosing for the next phase. “TT11X has been administered to three patients so far at Houston Methodist Hospital with a favorable safety profile. The therapy has been well tolerated with no evidence of GVHD or any severe adverse events associated with allogeneic therapies,” said Dr. Carlos Ramos, Lead Principal Investigator on the study and Professor at the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy and member of the Dan L Duncan Comprehensive Cancer Center at Baylor College of Medicine. For more information, visit www.clinicaltrials.gov (Study Identifier NCT04288726).

Off-the-shelf, allogeneic cell therapy has significant advantages and is the next frontier in cancer treatment. Tessa is developing a unique and potentially transformational allogeneic cell therapy platform based on decades-long research and development on Virus Specific T-cells (VSTs) by Tessa’s Scientific Co-Founder Dr. Malcolm Brenner and his team at Baylor College of Medicine.

“VSTs are highly specialized T cells with the ability to recognize and kill infected cells while activating other parts of the immune system for a coordinated response. Allogeneic VSTs without any form of genetic modification have demonstrated a strong safety profile and efficacy in early trials with minimal risk of graft versus host disease and graft rejection,” said Malcolm Brenner, M.D., Ph.D., Founding Director of the Center for Cell and Gene Therapy at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston Methodist Hospital and Texas Children’s Hospital. “The fundamental qualities of VSTs therefore make them a strong candidate for allogeneic application, and we are working closely with Tessa to advance this potential new platform therapy.”

Tessa’s allogeneic platform enhances inherent non-alloreactive properties of VSTs with CD30- CAR targeting. Preclinical studies have demonstrated that CD30 targeting potentially helps eliminate alloreactive T-cells and may improve allogeneic cell expansion and persistence. Tessa and Baylor College of Medicine are jointly developing this platform.

“We are quite excited about the therapeutic potential and broad applicability of our allogeneic CD30-CAR EBVST platform. The clinical progress on the ongoing study has been very encouraging and represents a significant milestone for Tessa,” said Ivan D. Horak, M.D., Chief Medical Officer and Chief Scientific Officer of Tessa Therapeutics. “Longer term, we aim to develop this platform to tackle solid tumors where there is significant patient need.”

(Source: Tessa Therapeutics, 2021)