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Anixa Biosciences Begins Phase I Trial of CAR T-Cell Therapy in Ovarian Cancer

NEW YORK – Anixa Biosciences on Wednesday began a Phase I trial of its endocrine receptor-targeting CAR T-cell therapy in ovarian cancer.

The trial is enrolling ovarian cancer patients at Moffitt Cancer Center. Anixa's CAR T-cell therapy uses chimeric endocrine receptor T cells (CER-T) that are engineered to target follicle stimulating hormone receptors (FSHR) expressed on ovarian cells. If the CER T-cell therapy reaches the market, Anixa believes it can offer more options to patients with recurrent, chemo-resistant ovarian cancer, Robert Wenham, lead investigator of the trial and chair of the gynecologic oncology department at Moffitt, said in a statement.

"If our CER-T approach is successful, it could serve as a model for future targeted CAR-T therapies in other cancer types," Jose Conejo-Garcia, who codeveloped the therapy and chairs the department of immunology at Moffitt, added. "The goal in cancer therapy has always been to kill cancer cells with limited damage to healthy tissue, and we look forward to seeing how this CER-T therapy may be able to accomplish that in solid tumors, which have historically proven challenging to eradicate with cell therapy."

The CER-T therapy was developed at the Wistar Institute and was exclusively licensed by Anixa in 2017. The company's investigational new drug application for the therapy was cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration last year. In preclinical studies, the T cells targeting FSHR-expressing ovarian cancer cells showed activity across several ovarian cancer types and increased survival in mice treated with the drug.

San Jose, California-based Anixa is also exploring its CER-T therapy in other solid tumors. The company noted that FSHR appears in preclinical studies to be expressed in other solid tumors such as prostate, colon, lung, and pancreatic cancer.