CytoSorbents, a biotech company that makes a blood purification device, says its CytoSorb blood filter could be used to treat the side effects of cancer immunotherapy.

Immunotherapy, which uses the body’s own immune system to fight cancer, is a growing field of medicine, and several Route 1 corridor companies are pursuing various immunotherapy treatments (U.S. 1 December 14, 2016). One drawback to immunotherapy is that it can overstimulate the immune system and cause the release of cytokines in the body, which can lead to fever and other symptoms from mild to life-threatening.

CytoSorb, which removes cytokines from the blood, is currently being used to counteract inflammation in cardiac surgery patients in Europe, though it has not yet been approved for use in the U.S. The company says in recent case studies, doctors used it to treat HLH, a disorder in which patients are prone to suffering severe inflammation.

CytoSorbents says several immuno-oncology companies are interested in its potential to treat the side effects of immunotherapy.

As a further sign of CytoSorbents’ growing interest in applying its technology to immunotherapy, the company has added to its scientific advisory board Dr. Carl June, who is the director of the Center for Cellular Immunotherapies at the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine.

“Life-threatening inflammation caused by high grade cytokine release syndrome (CRS) has been observed in a wide range of cancer immunotherapies. The successful use of CytoSorb to help treat patients with the similar hyper-inflammatory and potentially deadly condition called secondary HLH, or hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis, suggests that CytoSorb may help in managing severe CRS as well,” June said in a statement. “But even beyond cytokine release syndrome, there is fascinating potential of this unique immunomodulation therapy in cancer treatment and immuno-oncology, making it an exciting time for me to become involved.”

CytoSorbents Inc. (CTSO), 7 Deer Park Drive, Suite K, Monmouth Junction 08852. 732-329-8885. Phillip Chan, CEO.

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