31 Mar '16
A Novosibirsk-based innovative company called “Dendritic Cell Lab” is developing a method of fighting cancer by employing a patient’s own immune system potential.
To challenge malignant tumors the Siberian scientists have chosen the so-called dendritic cells, a type of cells in the mammalian immune system which are responsible for identifying ‘alien’ substances in the body and act as messengers to deliver information to cells that counter intruders, CEO Andrei Kalichkin said.
“We take a tumor sample from a patient, and also his blood samples to extract dendritic cells from. Using in vitro methods in labs, we ‘train’ the cells in properly responding to the tumor. Then these already ‘trained’ dendritic cells are brought back into the patient’s body to start waging war on tumorous ones right there. We could refer to this therapy as patient-specific, as it’s biomaterial from the patient himself that is used in the process,” the CEO explained.
According to Mr. Kalichkin, it is a joint project between his company and the local Research Institute of Clinical Immunology. The researchers are currently pushing clinical trials with the focus on breast cancer. At later stages, the technology is believed to be ‘customizable’ for other oncology diseases, including all sorts of intestinal and lung cancers.
“We expect the technology to be used at all stages of a disease. Of course, advanced ones will pose the toughest problem, but we’ll hopefully take them on, too,” Mr. Kalichkin said.
According to the source, elsewhere in Russia there’s no technology at this moment which would rival the new Siberian one.
The developers have plans to complete preparation and introduce their breast cancer solution to domestic clinics this year already. To fund the endeavor they reportedly participate in a number of grant competitions, including those run by the Skolkovo Foundation, the government entity that manages Russia’s most widely touted Skolkovo innovation hub just outside Moscow. For additional funding, Dendritic Cell Lab is said to have resorted to crowdfunding.