3 Things to Know About Biological Therapy for Cancer

(DGIwire) – For patients with cancer, biological therapies may be used to treat the cancer itself or the side effects of other cancer treatments, according to the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Many forms of biological therapies have been approved and others are still being studied in clinical trials. Here are three things to know about them.

  • What is biological therapy? Biological therapy involves the use of living organisms, substances derived from living organisms or lab-produced versions of such substances to treat disease, the NCI notes. Some biological therapies for cancer stimulate the body’s immune system to act against cancer cells but don’t target those cells directly. Other biological therapies, such as antibodies, do target them directly.
  • What types of biological therapies are used to treat cancer? Several types of biological therapies, especially immunotherapies, are being used or developed for cancer treatment, reports the NCI. These include immune checkpoint inhibitors, immune cell therapy, therapeutic antibodies, therapeutic vaccines and immune-modulating agents, each of which works in a different way to enhance the fight against cancer.
  • How are some biologic drugs produced? The current standard for antibody-based drug production is Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cell lines, according to BioPharm International. The CHO approach has been the industry standard for more than three decades.

“A significant problem with using CHO as a standard for biologics is that it involves relatively high production cost and low efficiency,” says Mark Emalfarb, CEO of Dyadic International. “The industry is poised to embrace alternative cell lines that can operate many times faster and cheaper to speed up the development and potentially bring down the cost of the end product: medicines for human use.”

According to Emalfarb, prominent among these newer cell lines is Dyadic’s own proprietary C1 gene expression platform, which is based on the company’s proprietary genetically modified strain of fungus: Myceliophthora thermophila, named C1. It has shown promise in producing enzymes and other proteins in a shorter amount of time, in higher amounts and at a lower cost than CHO.

The potential efficiency of C1 as a drug production platform is significant, says Emalfarb; for example, the fungus’ unique shape translates into better growth conditions with higher yields of secreted protein and lower viscosity. In addition to requiring only low-cost synthetic media, C1 is also virus-free, eliminating the need for viral inactivation.

“Securing an adequate supply of biologic drugs in the future may very well hinge on decisions about the ideal production methods that are being made today, and C1 might play a key role in propelling the state of the art forward in this regard,” Emalfarb adds.