“Super charging” the immune system to fight cancer

The immune system has evolved a series of complex, interconnected cellular and molecular pathways to defend not only against infections but also cancer.

The two most important killer cells are cytotoxic T cells which recognise target antigen peptides complexed to membrane MHC molecules and Natural Killer (NK) cells which recognise a variety of ‘stress-induced’ markers that are increased on cancer cells. Macrophages, which serve as “vacuum cleaners” ridding the body of dead and dying cells; they can also play a major role in engaging T cells to attack cancer cells.

Allogeneic CAR-immune cells (“off-the-shelf”)

This technology involves induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) derived NK cells (and, potentially, other types of immune cells). iPSCs have unlimited capacity for self-renewal.

Cartherics has developed proprietary technology for inducing iNK cells from iPSCs. These are very potent cytotoxic cells, able to kill a variety of cancer cell types.

Cartherics has further improved their function by genetically engineering the iPSCs so that the iNK cells express a cancer specific chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) and are resistant to certain mechanisms that reduce immune function.

The company is currently developing large-scale manufacture of these CAR-iNK cells for application in human trials and is expanding its pipeline to include iT cells and iMacrophages.

The Company’s lead product, CTH-401, is an iPSC-derived CAR-NK cell product. It carries a CAR directed against TAG-72, a well-validated tumour target, along with the deletion of two genes associated with immunosuppression.

Autologous CAR-T cells

This technology arms the patient’s own T cells with CARs, which enable them to “seek and destroy” cancer cells.

These autologous CAR-T cells are further enhanced by deleting genes which act as immune hand brakes.

The combination of CAR “knock-in” and immune suppressor gene “knock-out” enables the CAR-T cells to completely eradicate a model of human ovarian cancer in mice.

We have a CTH-004 development partnership with the Peter MacCallum Cancer Centre and have licensed development and commercialisation rights to Shunxi for Greater China. Cartherics retains all development and commercialisation rights for CTH-004 outside Greater China.

Frequently Asked Questions

What does Cartherics do?2024-02-29T16:41:16+11:00

Cartherics is a biotechnology company focused on developing innovative cancer therapies. We have developed immune killer cells (NK Cells) that are genetically modified and expanded for their therapy for solid tumours (ovarian and gastric cancers).  Our primary focus is on therapies that involve gene editing stem cells made from donor umbilical cord blood and the manufacturing of immune killer cells that can be available to cancer patients “off-the-shelf”.

How does the technology work?2022-11-28T14:31:07+11:00

Chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) are antibody fragments linked to activation molecules, that recognise molecules specifically present on the surface of cancer cells. These CAR complexes are genetically engineered into the immune cell (T cell or NK cell) genome and expressed on their surface. When the antibody fragment engages with the cancer cell, the activation molecules signal the immune cell to kill the cancer cell by releasing toxic granules or cytokines that cause death of the cancer cell. They keep killing cancer cells until exhausted. We multiply these aggressive immune cells and we also help them avoid messages from the tumour environment to be disabled.

How is Cartherics technology different to other immunotherapy treatments?2022-11-28T14:32:13+11:00

The Cartherics allogeneic (off-the-shelf) technology is based on umbilical cord blood cells from rare histocompatible donors that are converted to stem cells (iPSCs) and gene edited to introduce CARs and to knock-out genes that inhibit immune function. These are then converted into CAR-T or CAR-NK cells to enhance the patients’ own immune system to combat any cancer) cell growth. These cells immediately attack the cancer and some can remain long-term to prevent relapse. They retain the CAR and deletion of the immune inhibitory gene(s)and hence provide cover more broadly than do antibodies and other cancer drugs.

How is Cartherics advancing cell therapy?2024-02-28T15:42:46+11:00

Cartherics has an autologous CAR-T product treating ovarian cancer, entering clinical trials in 2024-25. The lead allogeneic product is expected to enter clinical trials for ovarian cancer in 2025. There is a pipeline of additional products focused on solid tumours following close behind. The Cartherics platform is expected to bring significant options for effective therapy across a wide spectrum of cancer types.

How are we using NK cells to target ovarian cancer?2024-02-28T15:39:42+11:00

The CAR target is a neo-antigen present on the cell surface of more than 90% of ovarian cancer cells. T cells or NK cells with this CAR will seek and bind to ovarian cancer cells via the CAR and signal the immune cell to kill these dangerous cells. Cartherics is also researching how to use these CAR- cells to engage the patients own immune system to join the attack on targeted cancers.

For further information

Engineered CAR-T cells targeting TAG-72 and CD47 in ovarian cancer
Runzhe Shu, Vera J. Evtimov, Maree V. Hammett, Nhu-Y N. Nguyen, Junli Zhuang, Peter J. Hudson, Maureen C. Howard, Aleta Pupovac, Alan O. Trounson, and Richard L. Boyd

Targeting human ovarian cancer with immune cells derived from the patient or from homozygous HLA haplotype iPS cells
Richard Boyd, Roland Shu, Vera Evtimov, Nicholas Boyd, Nhu-Y Nguyen, Thao Nguyen, Kellie Cartledge, Madeline Cao, Mathew Tiedemann, Junli Zhuang, Maree Hammett, Callum Docherty, Peter Hudson, Maureen Howard, Ian Nisbet, Alan Trounson

Off-the-Shelf iPSC derived CAR-NK immunotherapy for solid tumors
Nicholas Boyd, Mathew Tiedemann, Kellie Cartledge, Madeline Cao, Vera Evtimov, Runzhe Shu, Thao Nguyen, Nhu-Y Nguyen, Ian Nisbet, Richard Boyd and Alan Trounson

Go to Top