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K-562 cell lines will be used to enable CytoSen’s proprietary immune-oncology technology

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – The University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF) has entered into a licensing agreement with CytoSen Therapeutics, Inc. for commercial rights to use the K-562 cell lines to produce an innovative natural killer (NK) cell therapy that harnesses the power of a person’s own immune cells to help fight cancer. Unlike other cell therapies, this approach has the potential to be used as a treatment component for many types of cancer.

The K-562 cell lines were originally isolated from a leukemia patient in the 1970s and were widely published by Dr. Carmen Lozzio of the University of Tennessee. Since then, the K-562 cell lines have been extensively researched for their multi-potential properties, particularly those that target the delivery of cancer drugs.

“It is exciting to see cell lines that were first researched at the University of Tennessee over 40 years ago play a significant role in improving cancer treatments. We are happy to do our part to advance this important development in cancer research,” said Maha Krishnamurthy, Assistant Vice President of Licensing at UTRF. “This license will enable CytoSen to push the boundaries for cancer immunotherapy and show what that might look like in the future.”

Dr. Lozzio echoed this sentiment: “I am very happy to see that the K-562 cell line that I developed at UT Research Center in 1970, which was used by us and by many investigators at other institutions for basic research into leukemias and cancer, is now being used to develop new forms of cancer treatment.”

Dean Lee, M.D., Ph.D., co-founder and Medical Director at CytoSen, began working with the K-562 cell lines to develop a modified line of “feeder cells” that stimulates NK cell expansion to generate large numbers of highly active NK cells while increasing their potency against cancer cells. This unique “expansion and activation” process uses a donor’s NK cells, which are then injected back into the patient. CytoSen’s technology takes Dr. Lee’s method one step further by replacing the feeder cells with nanoparticles that possess the same NK cell stimulatory effects. These nanoparticles help the NK cells further expand and persist longer after being injected, increasing their therapeutic effectiveness.

“Securing a licensing agreement with UTRF for Dr. Lozzio’s K-562 cell lines is an important step for CytoSen’s NK cell therapeutics platform,” noted Robert Igarashi, Ph.D., President and co-founder of CytoSen. “This licensed technology adds to our intellectual property portfolio, along with Good Manufacturing Practices cell therapy production and clinical trials conducted with our research partners. Together, this important work will help CytoSen advance a cellular immunotherapy solution that has the potential to treat thousands of cancer patients.”

About CytoSen Therapeutics, Inc.

CytoSen Therapeutics, Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company bringing innovation to natural killer (NK) cell therapy, merging cellular immunotherapy and nanotechnology to harness the power of the immune system to treat cancer. For more information, visit http://cytosen.com/.

About the University of Tennessee Research Foundation (UTRF)

UTRF helps inventors at the University of Tennessee turn their ideas and discoveries into products and services that benefit society. In addition to supporting the university research enterprise and commercializing the resulting inventions, UTRF also supports entrepreneurship as well as state and regional economic development efforts. UTRF serves all seven of the University of Tennessee campuses and institutes across the state.  For more information, visit http://utrf.tennessee.edu.

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