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New Cell Guidance technology has potential to help treat cancer

Published on 19/02/21 at 12:09pm

Cell Guidance Systems’ new POlyhedrin Delivery System (PODS) technology has been shown to have therapeutic potential in the treatment of cancer and other diseases, the company announced today.

In a study, available as an unpublished preprint in bioRxiv, PODS technology was able to successfully modulate macrophage secretion profiles.

Macrophages play a powerful role in directing a body’s fight against disease, with unique capacity to switch activity to help rebuild damaged tissues. Unfortunately, as diseases such as cancer develop, macrophage activity is subverted and the secretion of cytokines - that would normally activate anti-cancer activities of other immune cells - is stopped.

PODS are packed with protein, meaning the macrophages cannot completely break them down. Instead, the macrophages secrete a constant stream of bioactive cytokines with the ability to instruct adjacent cells. This ability to restore and increase cytokine levels has the potential to treat diseases in which macrophage cytokine levels are reduced, such as cancer.

PODS-loaded macrophages are currently used to study complex cellular interactions and other phagocytic cells, such as chondrocytes, but the company’s hope is that they can be used to improve cytokine treatments in future.

Cell Guidance Systems are specialists in the control, manipulation and monitoring of cells, both in vitro and in vivo.

Cell Guidance Systems’ CEO, Dr Michael Jones, said: “Macrophages are well known for their ability to engulf pathogens. These remarkable cells are both the body’s soldiers and builders: apart from fighting disease, they have a unique capacity to change their activity to help rebuild damaged tissues.

“Although highly potent, cytokines can be very toxic. This has really limited their use to treat disease. With a few exceptions, cytokines need targeted delivery and what is unique about our approach using PODS with macrophages is the ability to deliver specific cytokines from macrophages to surrounding cells. It is very exciting as there is likely therapeutic potential, particularly in diseases such as cancer.”

Jack Goddard

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