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Takara Bio RetroNectin to UCLA for TCR-gene Therapy Clinical Trials in Advanced Melanoma

Tokyo, Dec 18, 2008 (JCN) - Takara Bio Inc. entered into a material transfer agreement with University of California at Los Angeles (UCLA) as of December 1st to supply Takara Bio's RetroNectin for use in a Phase II clinical trial of advanced melanoma conducted by the group of Dr. Antoni Ribas. Twenty-two patients are expected to be enrolled in this trial.

In the UCLA clinical trial, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) collected from melanoma patients are retrovirally-transduced in vitro utilizing the RetroNectin method with a gene encoding T-cell receptor (TCR) which specifically recognizes tumor antigen MART-1 expressing on melanoma cells.

The TCR-gene transduced PBMCs will be expanded in vitro and then infused back into the patients, so that the transduced PBMCs can specifically recognize and attack the tumor cells in the patients.

Under the protocol, patients will also receive autologous dendritic cells (DC) processed ex vivo in addition to the TCR-gene transduced PBMCs, that are expected to enable enhancement of patients' immunity to attack the melanoma cells.

This is the 44th clinical trial in which the RetroNectin method has been used. Currently, ex vivo gene therapy is expanding throughout the world as an effective method for several incurable diseases.

By Saroj Shrestha Staff Writer

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