It is good to see that more of the promising technical approaches to aspects of aging, originally put forward by people in the SENS rejuvenation research network some years ago, are now making solid progress towards commercial implementation. The LIFT, or GIFT, approach to cancer therapy involves the transplantation of suitably aggressive leukocyte or granulocyte immune cells from a donor. At the time it was first demonstrated to be highly effective in mice, more than a decade ago, the underlying mechanisms were not well explored, and that always makes it hard to obtain further support from scientific funding institutions. This is despite the point that the approach has the potential to be a near universal cancer therapy, applicable to most or all forms of cancer, even at very late stages.
Thus, unfortunately, the work progressed only very slowly for some years, materially supported by philanthropic funding and non-profit efforts. This is not an unusual story when it comes to development of new medical biotechnologies. Our communities and institutions are not good at identifying the best of work taking place in the lab and organizing to push it forward towards the clinic in a timely manner. Fortunately it is now becoming much easier to raise venture capital for the development of ambitious new biotechnologies, and so the approach is under development by LIfT Biosciences, who just received an influx of funding from Kizoo Technology Ventures, a group well known for their support of SENS style rejuvenation therapies.
Kizoo, part of the Forever Healthy Foundation, has announced today that it will be supporting biotech company LIfT Biosciences, a company that focuses on creating a new generation of cancer therapies that use our own immune systems. LIfT Biosciences is developing a new type of cancer immunotherapy approach that uses neutrophils to seek and destroy all types of solid tumors. Neutrophils are a particular type of white blood cell that protect us from infections and perform other functions. They comprise around 40 to 60 percent of the total number of white blood cells in our bodies and are the first immune cells to arrive during a bacterial infection.
The company is developing the world's first cell bank of neutrophils that are designed to seek and destroy any solid tumor, regardless of its particular strain and unique genetic makeup, providing a more universal approach to cancer. The cell bank would potentially be able to supply a range of cell therapies to deal with different types of solid tumors, and it uses a cell therapy system known as Neutrophil only Leukocyte Infusion Therapy (N-LIfT). The system uses an ex-vivo approach and could be more cost-effective than other approaches using leukocyte therapy.
The company is initially going after a form of pancreatic cancer known as pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC), which has a very low survival rate, with only 3% of patients diagnosed surviving for five years. The company is currently finishing up preclinical research prior to launching a human clinical trial. The goal of the trial will be to demonstrate remission in high unmet need solid tumour cancers by 2021, which will include pancreatic cancers such as PDAC.