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Through the foundation of spin-off Lymphact, later acquired by GammaDelta Therapeutics, Bruno Silva-Santos Lab has developed a methodology to expand and differentiate cellular immune therapies – the DOT cells. The DOT cells are a unique type (Vδ1) of killer T-cells (white blood cells) that are able to target not only cancer cells but also chemotherapy-resistant cancer stem cells.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently cleared the Investigational New Drug (IND) application for the allogeneic blood-derived Vδ1 gamma-delta (γδ) T cell therapy, GDX012, to be investigated as a treatment for hematological malignancies. The FDA also granted orphan drug designation to GDX012 for the treatment of Acute Myeloid Leukaemia (AML). Starting this Summer, the trial will evaluate safety, tolerability and anti-leukemic activity of GDX012.

Although progress has been made in the treatment of AML, the median overall five-year survival rate for patients diagnosed with AML remains under 30 percent. This first-in-human clinical study of Vδ1 γδ T cells constitutes an important hallmark in the progress of AML patients’ outcomes by using personalized medical treatments, with potentially application for other hematologic malignancies.