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In Brief This Week: Carisma Therapeutics, Proteomedix, American Cancer Society

NEW YORK – The US Food and Drug Administration this week granted fast track designation to Carisma Therapeutics' autologous CAR macrophage therapy CT-0508 for patients with solid tumors. The therapy involves harvesting patients' innate immune cells, selecting and engineering them into CAR macrophages targeting HER2, and then reinfusing them as a treatment. The Philadelphia-based firm is currently evaluating the therapy in a Phase I trial of patients with HER2-overexpressing solid tumors who have not responded to treatment or who don't have any approved HER2-targeted therapy options. Preclinical studies have suggested that CT-0508 may overcome some of the challenges encountered by other autologous cell therapies in treating solid tumors.

Swiss cancer diagnostics firm Proteomedix this week announced a research and development partnership with Chinese cancer detection and screening company New Horizon Health, which is investing CHF 3.0 million ($3.2 million) in the form of a convertible loan to Proteomedix to support their joint program. Proteomedix said the deal will combine the companies’ complementary technologies and abilities in biomarker development and will focus on cancer patient management.

The American Cancer Society this week announced a goal to raise $30 million for a national cancer screening initiative. With support from Genentech, Merck, Novartis, Pfizer, and the National Football League, among other sponsors, the society hopes to improve screening rates for breast, cervical colorectal, and lung cancers, and reduce the disparities in screening access, especially among populations who face social or economic barriers. Key parts of the initiative will include national and local public health expert consortiums and health system engagement for the implementation of evidence-based screening interventions, as well as public awareness campaigns that provide educational materials to people of diverse backgrounds. The initiative will also focus on advocating for policy change to improve screening rates.

In Brief This Week is a selection of news items that may be of interest to our readers but had not previously appeared in Precision Oncology News.