Harvard bioengineers' biomaterial-based cancer immunotherapies to be developed by Novartis
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IMAGE: Made of the polymer that’s used in biodegradable sutures, this aspirin-sized device is designed to deliver immunotherapy agents that activate the immune system against tumors. view more 

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Credit: Wyss Institute at Harvard University

(BOSTON) – The Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering at Harvard University and the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) announced today that Novartis will have access to commercially develop their therapeutic, biomaterial-based, cancer vaccine technology that promotes anti-cancer immunity. Under a licensing agreement spearheaded by Harvard’s Office of Technology Development (OTD), Novartis will have worldwide rights, in target-limited applications, to develop and translate this approach to treat patients.

Unlike cell-based cancer immunotherapies that rely on manipulating immune cells outside of the body and transferring them into patients, the implantable immuno-material approach activates endogenous immune cells inside the body to launch an attack on the patient’s own cancer. The novel technique was developed, incubated, and advanced at the Wyss Institute and SEAS by David Mooney, Wyss Core Faculty member, lead of the Immuno-Materials initiative at the Wyss Institute, and Robert P. Pinkas Family Professor of Bioengineering at SEAS.

The first-generation therapy consists of a porous scaffold material made from a widely used biodegradable medical polymer

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