Natural Killer cells have been overlooked in the fight against Cancer. These immune cells are a very active part of the immune system. Cancer cells develop a way to hide from the immune cells so that natural killer cells and other immune cells get diverted from their jobs. NKILT has figured out how to unleash them so that patients who undergo treatment have a better chance of living cancer-free!
We now know that cancer cells across all types of cancers can block a patient’s immune system and so that their immune cells are unable to recognize cancer cells that are harming the body. The war on cancer is more challenging than we thought because surviving cancer requires that we make cancer cells visible to the immune system.
NKILT has created a way of engineering immune cells so that tumor cells are visible and vulnerable to our immune cells. The immune cells we have engineered are called Natural Killer cells (or NK cells). They are known to be active players in the immune response. With our novel immunotherapy, called CIR-NK cells (engineered NK cells), we expect to help limit and hopefully eradicate the chance of recurrent cancer. We are testing CIR-NK in leukemia and then in colon cancer and we expect that treated patients will be cancer-free for longer. We believe we are onto something!
We are currently raising $5M to support the development of our first products (CIR-NK cells) in leukemia (AML) and colorectal cancer. One important milestone is to test how well CIR-NK cells can find and kill cancer cells, while verifying that they don’t attack normal cells. This will be accomplished in animal models and will allow us to reach our next major milestone which is to initiate dialog with FDA in preparation for future clinical trials.
To support this very important initial animal study, we will need $100K. With these funds, we will launch our first mouse study to track how our engineered CIR-NK cells behave in mouse models and to better understand how long they remain active in these animals.
We need to expand our technical team with at least two more scientists. This will enable us to launch multiple studies in parallel to assess the properties of our immunotherapy and determine if it is safe. Funds raised on this platform will allow us to generate additional data and evidence to support our $5M raise. We are also filing, in the coming weeks, a few grants (CPRIT and SBIR) to complement our fundraising effort.
In 2020, there were close to 20 million people with cancer with half of them resulting in death. The need to bring more options for cancer patients remains critical and NKILT has an answer that could radically change standard of care and survival for cancer patients.
Our exciting science already indicates that CIR-NK cells are potent killers of cancer cells. This gives us hope for patients that will have access to a powerful new treatment for out living cancer.
Multiple options for patients are needed throughout their cancer journey and it is critical to build the scientific foundation, development and commercial structure to bring those innovative new treatments to cancer patients. We won’t be able to succeed alone. Our objective is to build our own development structure and partner with key players (starting with AML and colorectal cancer) to increase our chance of success. We will also plan to partner with larger biotech/pharma companies that have established their position in cell therapy to build a manufacturing and commercial structure to ensure our treatments are delivered to all patients in need – world wide.
Remember, up to 50% of cancer patients could benefit from our approach… and that’s how we will make an impact on beating cancer!