Cell therapy involves the modification of human cell which are used to replace or repair damaged tissues or cells. Two areas with growing development and commercialization include chimeric antigen receptor (CAR)-T therapies and stem cell therapies.

According to a recent report from Kalorama Information, the global market for cell and gene therapy in 2020 is estimated to reach $3,866 million And most of the market is for the treatment of cancer. Dermatological, Cardiovascular – Blood, Oncology, Ophthalmic, Musculoskeletal and other conditions.

With the COVID-19 crisis, there are some efforts to adapt this promising technology to the treatment and prevention of the disease. There are a number of companies that are responding to the call to develop a therapeutic or vaccine for the coronavirus including:

Vitro Biopharma offers its umbilical cord derived stem cells AlloRx stem cells and has a patent-pending and scalable manufacturing platform to provide stem cell
therapies to COVID-19 patients.

Celularity and Sorrento Therapeutics entered into collaboration for CYNK-001, an allogeneic, off the shelf, placental-derived NK cell therapy. The companies on January 30, 2020, launched a clinical and manufacturing collaboration designed to expand the therapeutic use of Celularity’s CYNK-001 to COVID-19. Sorrento and Celularity agreed to assess CYNK-001 as a potential novel therapy for coronaviruses, specifically SARS-CoV-2

It’s even possible CAR-T, currently used for types of cancer with limited therapeutics, could be used for COVID-19. CAR-T involves using modified versions of the patient’s own cells for treatment. The engineering of specific virus-targeting receptors onto a patient’s own immune cells is now being explored by scientists from Duke-National University of Singapore (Duke-NUS) Medical School (Duke-NUS), as a potential therapy for controlling infectious diseases, including the COVID-19-causing virus, SARS-CoV-2. This therapy that has revolutionized the treatment of patients with cancer has also been used in the treatment of other infectious diseases such as Hepatitis B virus (HBV), as discussed by the School’s researchers in a commentary published in the Journal of Experimental Medicine.

According to the university, this type of immunotherapy requires specialized personnel and equipment, and it needs to be administered indefinitely. This makes it cost-prohibitive for treating most types of viral infections. However, in the case of HBV infections, for example, current anti-viral treatments merely suppress viral replication and cure less than 5% of patients. Treating these patients with a combination of anti-virals and CAR/TCR T cells could be a viable option. The team’s approach using mRNA electroporation to engineer CAR/TCR T cells limits their functional activity to a short period of time, and hence provides enhanced safety features suited for its deployment in patients with

Despite these efforts, the majority of the market currently is and is expected to represent treatments for cancer.  Kalorama’s report breaks down the market by types of cancer including Blood cancers, Prostate cancer, Melanoma, Other cancers. Oncology drugs Kymriah, Provenge, and Yescarta are primarily responsible for generating sales in the segment.

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