Prof. Liangfang Zhang’s research group at the University of California San Diego has developed a new and potentially more effective way to deliver messenger RNA (mRNA) into cells. Their approach involves packing mRNA inside nanoparticles that mimic the flu virus—a naturally efficient vehicle for delivering genetic material such as RNA inside cells. Read more.

Cellics submitted Investigational New Drug (IND) application to the US FDA today and proposed clinical trials of using cellular nanosponges to treat multiple types of pneumonia.

Cello published a paper in Nature Communications presenting platelet membrane-coated nanoparticles for treatment of solid tumors. Read more.

CARB-X is funding Cellics Therapeutics to develop a novel macrophage nanosponge to prevent and treat sepsis. See more …

Cello Therapeutics Inc. just completed a pre-IND meeting with FDA on the immunotherapy formulation CE120.

MIT conducted an interview with Dr. Jie Zhang and published that online.
See details.

Cellics Therapeutics Inc., Cello’s sibling company, just completed the pre-IND meeting with FDA, moving toward clinical trials in the United States.

Dr. Jie Zhang, has been elected as a member of National Academy of Engineering (NAE), for his invaluable contributions to “advances in earthquake seismology, geophysical imaging, and medical technology."
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A review article entitled “Nanoparticle Delivery of Immunostimulatory Agents for Cancer Immunotherapy,” is just published on Theranostics.
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New Frontier in Oncology: Platelet Membrane-coated Nanoparticles Offer a Novel and Promising Platform for Treatment of Solid Organ Tumors

March 31, 2021

In an exciting new study published in Nature Communications, Cello Therapeutics has shown how their novel nano-sized formulation can inhibit tumor growth and metastasis in multiple mouse models of solid tumors [1]. Cancer remains one of the main causes of morbidity and mortality globally. Solid tumors, in particular, make up ~90% of all newly diagnosed cancer cases as well as cancer deaths [2]. Despite the potential for a surgical “cure,” residual and metastatic diseases remain a significant issue. New treatment options such as immunotherapy are urgently needed to control and eliminate these tumors. Breast, colorectal, lung, and prostate cancers, in particular, account for nearly 50% of all new cancer cases in the United States and are responsible for almost 50% of all deaths due to cancer. As the second overall leading cause of death, cancer presents a pressing issue in healthcare affecting a significant portion of the US population.

Immunotherapy has emerged as an effective therapeutic approach against cancer that harnesses the power of immune cells and the body’s own immune system. Some recent approaches, including immune checkpoint inhibitors and adoptive transfer of chimeric antigen receptor (CAR) T cells, have shown considerable promise. However, each still has its disadvantages. For example, checkpoint inhibitors are oftentimes associated with severe systemic side effects and only benefit a subset of patients with tumors expressing specific receptors, while CAR T therapy has not fared well against solid tumors despite its success in hematological cancers. In particular, systemic administration of such immunotherapies can result in toxicities in the respiratory, GI, hepatic, pulmonary, endocrine, and neurological systems. To overcome such challenges, intratumoral injection is becoming more common as a mode of administration. The localization of immune-activating agents can help to kick start antitumor immunity while reducing their systemic exposure.

Cello Therapeutics combines immunotherapy and localized administration with an innovative approach. Taking cues from nature, Cello has developed a nanoparticle formulation that mimics platelets in their ability to bind to tumors and the tumor microenvironment. Platelets have been implicated in many disease pathologies, including tumor progression. Previous studies have shown that platelets naturally bind to both cancer cells and components of the tumor microenvironment. In addition, platelets have even been shown to facilitate metastasis by binding to circulating tumor cells and “hiding” them from detection.

Cello’s nanoparticles, which are approximately 1,000 times smaller than the width of a strand of human hair in size, are coated with membrane derived from natural platelets. This membrane coating enables the nanoparticles to bind and be retained at the tumor site much longer than fully synthetic nanoparticles, providing greater opportunity for encapsulated payloads to accomplish their intended effect.

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