Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) is associated with a wide range of hematologic malignancies and solid tumors, as well as certain autoimmune conditions such as multiple sclerosis (MS). T-cells are a critical component of the body’s immune system and can selectively target specific EBV antigens believed to be important for the potential treatment of MS.
Off-the-shelf ATA188 and autologous ATA190, using Atara’s complementary T-cell immunotherapy technology developed by Professor Rajiv Khanna at QIMR Berghofer, have the potential to precisely recognize and eliminate EBV-infected B-cells and plasma cells in the central nervous system that may catalyze autoimmune responses and MS pathophysiology.
Professor Michael Pender from The University of Queensland presented updated results from the first ATA190 study, which was partially funded by MS Research Australia, MS Queensland and Perpetual Foundation, at the MSParis 2017 Congress, the 7th Joint ECTRIMS and ACTRIMS Meeting, in October 2017. This study tested adoptive immunotherapy in patients with progressive MS and showed that autologous ATA190 led to encouraging clinical improvements in MS symptoms that correlated with autologous ATA190’s reactivity against target EBV antigens (EBV reactivity).
In addition to the Phase 1 autologous ATA190 clinical study in patients with progressive MS, Atara is advancing a Phase 1 ATA188 clinical study in patients with progressive or relapsing-remitting MS across clinical sites in the U.S. and Australia.
About Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
MS is a chronic neurological autoimmune disease that affects an estimated 2.3 million people around the world. Relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) is the most common form of MS and is characterized by episodes of new or worsening signs or symptoms (relapses) followed by periods of recovery. Despite available disease-modifying treatments, most individuals with RRMS continue to experience disease activity and disability progression.
Progressive MS (PMS) is a severe form of the disease with few therapeutic options. PMS comprises two conditions, both characterized by persistent progression and worsening of MS symptoms and physical disability over time. Primary Progressive MS (PPMS) occurs when continuous progressive disease is present at diagnosis and occurs in approximately 15% of newly diagnosed cases. Secondary Progressive MS (SPMS) initially begins as RRMS and develops into a progressive form. Up to 80% of people with RRMS will eventually develop SPMS. There is substantial unmet medical need for new and effective therapies for patients with PPMS and SPMS. Most treatment options that work well in reducing flares in RRMS have not been shown to be effective in slowing or reversing disability in PMS.