Nov 2, 2022
Dr. Peter Traber is the Chief Medical officer at Selecta Biosciences, which is enabling and increasing the effectiveness of gene therapy by inhibiting the body's immune response. Their drug platform ImmTOR is a nano-encapsulated immunomodulatory drug that causes the immune system to be tolerant of antigens and inhibits the immune response. This approach may overcome an important hurdle in gene therapy and biologic therapy by allowing repeated dosing.
Peter explains, "Our immune response is very robust, and it's hard to get around it. So in order to make these therapies, either proteins or gene therapy, more effective and safer, we are tolerizing the individual to those therapies with this platform."
"So I'll give you an example from our phase three program in chronic refractory gout. We're using an enzyme to treat refractory gout, which decreases the uric acid, but it's a yeast-derived enzyme. It's an enzyme that humans don't have, and therefore it's highly immunogenic. If you give it to a human, it's only effective with one dose. In fact, by 30 days, it's not effective anymore. In contrast, when we give it with ImmTOR, we're able to give the drug monthly for 12 months. So the ImmTOR reduces the immune effect of the drug but allows it to be active and be used over the course of an entire year."
"We are collaborating with some groups on transplantation approaches. And certainly, inducing immune tolerance in that situation could be very important. And, of course, beyond that, we're also working in autoimmune diseases where the body turns against itself—so-called breaking of self-tolerance. Our program is also working on reestablishing self-tolerance in autoimmune diseases. There's a very long list of autoimmune diseases in the liver and joints and elsewhere that could be very important in this regard."
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