Tract Bio, a biotechnology company focused on developing therapies for cancer and inflammatory diseases, has recently announced a significant publication in the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine. The publication details their research on stem cell variants that contribute to chronic lung inflammation in cystic fibrosis patients treated with CFTR modulators.
Key Highlights of the Research
- Stem Cell Variants in Cystic Fibrosis: The study, titled “Inflammatory Activity of Epithelial Stem Cell Variants from Cystic Fibrosis Lung Is Not Resolved by CFTR Modulators,” was featured in the November 2023 edition of the journal. It reveals the discovery of three proinflammatory stem cell variants in the lungs of cystic fibrosis patients. These variants are linked to persistent lung inflammation even in patients undergoing CFTR modulator therapy.
- Limitations of Current CFTR Modulators: Dr. Frank McKeon, Ph.D., Interim Chief Scientific Officer of Tract Bio, emphasized that despite treatment, lung neutrophils and inflammatory cytokines remain high in these patients. This highlights the limitations of current CFTR modulator drugs in mitigating lung inflammation caused by these stem cell variants.
- Innovative Drug Discovery Platform: Tract Bio’s proprietary platform, stemECHO™, was instrumental in this discovery. It allows for the generation of pure stem cell libraries while maintaining their functional integrity. This platform has identified disease-associated stem cells in various cancers and inflammatory diseases, leading to the development of novel therapies.
Implications and Future Directions
- Urgent Need for Novel Therapies: The publication underscores the necessity for further research and the development of new treatments for cystic fibrosis. While CFTR modulators are effective, they do not address all aspects of the disease.
- Tract Bio’s Mission: Tract Bio aims to identify pathogenic stem cells that play a significant role in aggressive forms of cancer and inflammation. Their goal is to develop therapies that target the cause of the condition rather than just alleviating symptoms.
- Advancing Novel Drug Combinations: The company is advancing TP-101, a novel drug combination identified using stemECHO™, targeting a common mechanism among disease-associated stem cells in cancer. They are also developing therapies for inflammatory diseases.
This research represents a significant step forward in understanding and treating the underlying causes of lung inflammation in cystic fibrosis, potentially leading to more effective and targeted therapies in the future.