NEW YORK – Snipr Biome and the MD Anderson Cancer Center on Monday said that they have teamed up on research aimed at improving immunotherapy side effects by altering cancer patients' microbiomes with CRISPR technology.
The Copenhagen, Denmark-based biotech Snipr Biome and MD Anderson's Program for Innovative Microbiome and Translational Research, or PRIME-TR, will develop CRISPR-based therapeutics targeting unique microbiota that contribute to patients' immune-related adverse events during treatment with combined PD-1 and CTLA-4 checkpoint inhibitors.
Through preclinical research and a potential clinical study, the partners will first validate the microbiome profiles contributing to toxicities, then develop therapeutics that will alter patients' gut microbiota using Snipr's CRISPRbiotic therapy platform to improve the tolerability and safety of immunotherapies.
The collaboration follows a recent study in Nature Medicine showing that distinct microbiome characteristics can influence how melanoma patients react to immunotherapy combinations.
"Microbes within the gut of patients have been shown to influence responses to immunotherapy, and now we have evidence that they can impact toxicity as well," MD Anderson's Jennifer Wargo, who led the Nature Medicine study and directs PRIME-TR, said in a statement. "We are excited about applying Snipr Biome's unique technologies to manipulate gut microbes and reduce toxicity while preserving response to cancer immunotherapy with the ultimate goal of improving care for all patients."