It may sound like science fiction, but it’s real science.
Lineage Cell Therapeutics is using pluripotent cells to replace missing, degenerated, or injured cells and restore functionality. These cells can be induced to become any cell in the human body and show promise to treat a wide range of diseases, traumatic injuries, and other medical conditions. The company’s objective is to develop new treatments for conditions with large unmet patient needs, including certain age-related degenerative diseases and other serious medical conditions for which there presently are no cures or few treatment options.
One such condition is Dry Age-Related Macular Degeneration (Dry AMD). It’s a common eye disorder in which loss of retinal cells causes impaired central vision. Dry AMD affects nearly 27 million people a year and is the leading cause of vision loss in people over 60. In clinical trials, transplanting Lineage’s patented OpRegen® cells directly into the retina patients has resulted in better visual acuity, reduced geographic atrophy progression, and improved reading speed. Because of its promise, OpRegen has been granted Fast Track status from the FDA.
According to the National Spinal Cord Statistical Center, approximately 18,000 people a year suffer severe spinal cord injuries often leading to some form of paralysis. Regenerative medicine has long been thought of as a possible treatment for this debilitating condition. Lineage, partially funded by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, is testing oligodendrocyte progenitor cell therapy (OPC1) in a Phase 1/2a multicenter clinical trial. OPC1 has received Regenerative Medicine Advanced Therapy (RMAT) designation for acute SCI and has also been granted Orphan Drug Designation by the FDA. In January 2019, top line data was announced from one trial that showed 96% improved motor function on at least one level with no serious adverse events related to the OPC1 cells.
A third and equally important area of study for Lineage’s regenerative technology is cancer. Their VAC2 treatment is in Phase 1 clinical trial in patients with non-small cell lung cancer. VAC2, which is produced from our pluripotent cell technology, is comprised of a population of mature dendritic cells. As the most potent type of antigen presenting cell in the body, dendritic cells instruct our body’s immune system to attack and eliminate harmful pathogens and unwanted cells. To target cancerous cells, VAC2 is engineered to express the tumor-selective antigen telomerase, which is found in over 85% of all cancers. Because the antigen is loaded exogenously into the cells prior to administration, VAC2 is a platform technology that can be modified to carry any antigen, including patient-specific tumor neo-antigens.
While Lineage Cell Therapeutics has been in business for 30 years, a new management team – including CEO Brian Culley and CFO Brandi Roberts – was brought in recently and with it a new focus on clinical advancement. The result is a company with a robust pipeline in markets with billion dollar opportunities, one of the largest patent estates in cell therapy, and strategic partnerships with leading organizations including Cancer Research UK.
If you’d like to learn more about Lineage Cell Therapeutics take a few minutes and watch their recent FORCE Wealth webinar. To talk to their management team about its promising regenerative medicine technology, contact Steven Saltzstein, CEO of Force Wealth and we’ll happily make the introduction.
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