Biologics are one of the fastest-growing drug categories in the United States. This diverse class of drugs includes biomolecules, antibodies, and peptides. While small compounds are limited in targets, biologics have the capacity to treat many previously untreatable conditions. We interviewed Amy Twite, PhD, director of chemistry for Valitor, Inc., about how she is working to improve the availability of biologics to treat diseases such as wet macular degeneration and cancer.
Amy Twite, PhD
Director of Chemistry
Valitor is working on a biologic platform for sustained activity and residency for prolonged therapeutic activity after administration. By immobilizing biologics on our biopolymer platform, we can greatly increase the therapeutic half-life from hours to days in many tissues and solid tumors.
Directing therapies like CAR T cells or activated cytotoxic T cells to solid tumors can be challenging. Inhibitory checkpoints, along with certain cytokines and tumor-residing cells, can dampen or shorten the duration of these treatments’ cytotoxic effects. We are using our platform to regulate cytokines and immune cells for enhanced tumor targeting and clearance.
One use of flow cytometry is to analyze the subsets of cells affected by biopolymer-bound therapeutics. We use it to measure the number of activated immune cells and the changes in those cells’ phenotype distribution over time when exposed to our drug. We can also use it to assess the in vitro residence time of our platform vs. unmodified antibodies. Phenotyping panels and flow reagents like Invitrogen CellTrace dyes help us understand which populations are expanding over time. We can also label our biopolymer-bound therapeutics to assess how they interact with the targeted cells, and their interaction time in vitro.
We were lucky to discover the Attune NxT Flow Cytometer when we were looking to replace an older instrument. It’s a great flow cytometer that provides ease of use for non-immunologists, while rapidly providing data of superb quality.
Cells in a tumor microenvironment are dynamic. Cells can be found more on a spectrum of phenotypic marker expression dependent on the tissue and disease. It’s very helpful to take advantage of the services Thermo Fisher Scientific offers, like panel design to get a jump forward on complex panel development.
The support we receive is outstanding. Technical support from Thermo Fisher expert reps helps me to proceed with critical experiments. It’s easy to shoot texts or emails to them to ameliorate panic moments when issues arise during valuable experiments.
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