Driven by the need to develop an effective frontline cell therapy treatment for multiple myeloma, Cartesian Therapeutics, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company specializing in mRNA-engineered cell therapy, has announced the initiation of a Phase 2a clinical trial of Descartes-11, a new mRNA chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy designed for patients newly diagnosed with high-risk multiple myeloma.
For the uninitiated, Descartes-11 is formulated with the RNA Armory℠ platform to transiently express its CAR molecules, thereby lowering both short & long-term risks associated with conventional CAR T-cell therapies. The treatment is developed in-house at Cartesian’s state-of-the-art, wholly owned cGMP manufacturing facility situated in Gaithersburg, MD.
According to Kenneth Anderson, MD, Program Director of the Jerome Lipper Multiple Myeloma Center & LeBow Institute for Myeloma Therapeutics, patients newly diagnosed with high-risk multiple myeloma rarely show durable responses after frontline therapy. Adding a CAR T-cell therapy in their standard of care, without the use of lymphodepleting chemotherapy, would be of utmost significance to their toolkit for treating currently incurable disease.
Murat Kalayoglu, MD, PhD, CEO & President, Cartesian Therapeutics, commented that Descartes-11 is one of six cell therapy programs that are being developed using their RNA Armory℠ cell engineering platform.
He said that their firm holds a vision of curing diseases using mRNA-engineering and are hopeful that the new clinical trial will validate the preliminary efficacy and safety of Descartes-11 in newly diagnosed myeloma, helping their firm reach a step closer to providing a better frontline cell therapy treatment for patients.
Mr. Kalayoglu added that their approach enables to potentially impact a wide range of indications beyond oncology such as autoimmune and respiratory conditions.
As per sources close to the trial, patients previously involved in Phase 1 trial of Descartes-11 with advanced myeloma displayed no evidence of CAR T-cell toxicities such as CRS (cytokine release syndrome) of neurotoxicity.