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Affimed shows that an Innate Cell Engager to NK and CAR-NK Cells Improves Tumor Cytotoxicity


Affimed Presents Preclinical Data Showing that Addition of an Innate Cell Engager to NK and CAR-NK Cells Improves Tumor Cytotoxicity of Both Cell Types at the 38th Annual Meeting of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer

  • Addition of Affimed’s innate cell engager (ICE®) improves cytotoxicity of natural killer (NK) cells and CAR-NK cells

  • NK cells with ICE® show at least comparable anti-tumor cell efficacy to CAR-NK cells with ICE®

  • ICE® combined with NK cells obviate the need for complex and costly manufacturing compared to CAR-NK cells

  • ICE® offer flexibility to be used with NK cells from different sources

MANNHEIM, Germany, Nov. 03, 2023 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Affimed N.V. (Nasdaq: AFMD) (“Affimed”, or the “Company”), a clinical-stage immuno-oncology company committed to giving patients back their innate ability to fight cancer, today presented a poster at the annual meeting of the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC), indicating the Company’s ICE® improves cytotoxicity of NK and CAR-NK cells and that NK cells redirected by ICE® exhibit at least the same efficacy against tumor cells as CAR-NK cells alone or redirected by the ICE®. The results emerged from a collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology (IZI) in Leipzig, Germany.


“This is the first direct comparison of NK cells redirected by Affimed’s ICE® with CAR-NK cells,” said Dr. Arndt Schottelius, Chief Scientific Officer at Affimed. “It is exciting to see that the combination of NK cells with ICE® exhibits an anti-tumoral efficacy which is at least comparable to that of CAR-NK cells. The combination of allogeneic NK cells with ICE® molecules represents the most straightforward way to generate potent and targeted NK cells. This suggests high flexibility and cost-effective manufacturing as there is no additional engineering of NK cells required.”


To compare approaches, the preclinical efficacy of NK cells combined with a tetravalent bispecific CD16A/CD19-targeting ICE® against CD19-positive tumor cells was compared to the efficacy of anti-CD19 CAR-NK cells alone or in combination with the ICE®. Cytotoxic activation was assessed by calcein-release assays, degranulation, cytokine secretion, and specific CD19-positive target cell killing.


The combination of the ICE® molecule with NK cells or CAR-NK cells enhanced antibody-dependent cellular cytotoxicity (ADCC) against tumor cells and mediated elevated levels of degranulation when compared to NK cells or CAR-NK cells alone.


In conclusion, the combination of NK cells with ICE® represents a straight-forward way to potently target and activate NK cells.


Details of the poster presentation are as follows:

Title: Redirecting NK cell cytotoxicity by Innate Cell Engagers: A differentiated and innovative approach compared to CAR-NK cells Authors: Sonya Ioana Ciulean, Julia Uhlig, Christian Breunig, Thea Eichenberg, Joe Fischer, Michael Albers, Jan Schmollinger, Jens Pahl, Ivica Fucek, Christoph Bach, Paul Franz, Anna Dünkel, Stephan Fricke, Thomas Grunwald, Ulrike Köhl, Joachim Koch Abstract Number: 329 Poster Presentation Time: Friday, Nov. 3, 2023, 12:00 – 1:30 p.m. and 5:10 – 6:40 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time Location: Exhibit Halls A and B1 – San Diego Convention Center

Please find a link to the abstract on the SITC website: Home – SITC 2023 (sitcancer.org)


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