CellSight Technologies, a US-based PET (Positron Imaging Tomography) imaging company, announced a collaboration with Boehringer Ingelheim to evaluate CellSight’s PET imaging tracer, VisAcT™, for future use in the development and monitoring of immune-oncological therapies.
VisAcT™ ([18F]fluoro-arabinofuranosylguanine [18F]F-AraG), is preferentially taken up by activated T cells, thus, enabling the non-invasive determination of changes in T cell activation within tumor lesion(s) as a consequence of anti-cancer immune system activation. A clinical trial to evaluate immunological response to PD-1 checkpoint inhibition in squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck is currently ongoing. The focus of the trial is to determine if early PET scans, at 6-12 weeks after the initial anti-PD1 inhibitor therapy dose, with the VisAcT™ tracer are predictive of response to immunotherapy. Within cohort 1 of the trial 20 patients will be recruited. The goal is to assess whether [18F]F-AraG accumulation in tumor lesion(s) can be used for assessment of T cell activation and expansion in the tumor and its microenvironment.
The trial is currently open for recruitment at the Stanford University Medical Center and is led by Dimitrios Colevas M.D., John Sunwoo M.D., Quynh-Thu Le M.D., Olivier Gaevert Ph.D., Chris Holsinger M.D., Nancy Fischbein M.D.and Shyam Srinivas M.D.
“CellSight is extremely pleased to be working with Boehringer Ingelheim, after connecting through the National Cancer Institute Small Business Innovations Research program,” said Aruna Gambhir, CEO of CellSight. “We believe that our PET imaging tracer, which is specific for activated T cells can help increase the success rate for immunotherapies by predicting response early in the treatment regimen thus allowing clinicians and patients to make more informed decisions.”
Prof. Florian Gantner Head of Translational Medicine and Clinical Pharmacology at Boehringer Ingelheim: “We are very excited to collaborate with CellSight Technologies, to provide a novel diagnostic tool for patients and doctors to non-invasively obtain the information needed to optimize treatment regimens. VisAcT™ has the potential to accelerate numerous research efforts in immuno-oncology and make a real difference for patients.”