B Cell-Mediated Autoimmune Diseases

B cells are essential components of the body’s immune system. They manufacture specialized proteins called antibodies that circulate in the blood and bind like a lock-and-key to the surfaces of “foreign invaders,” or pathogens, such as bacteria and viruses. They also recruit and encourage other immune cells to respond to the foreign invaders and to secrete factors that increase inflammation.

In rare cases, B cells develop receptors that mistakenly target healthy tissues and cells. Once activated, these B cells multiply and produce autoantibodies, or antibodies against self-proteins, that attack healthy cells. The disease-causing B cells may also engage other immune cell types in attacking healthy tissue. These B cells cause certain types of autoimmune diseases, called B cell-mediated autoimmune diseases, because they are caused by the B cells mistakenly perceiving healthy tissues as foreign and mounting an immune response.

Is there a cure for B cell-mediated autoimmune diseases?

There is currently no cure for B cell-mediated autoimmune diseases. Current treatment options for B cell-mediated autoimmune diseases involve generalized immune suppression through corticosteroids as well as immunosuppressant medications and biologics. All of these current methods impair or destroy healthy B cells and/or other immune cells as well as pathogenic ones, weakening the patient’s overall immune function, potentially putting them at risk for infection and impairing their response to vaccines. In general, these drugs require long-term administration and may have life-threatening side effects. The ideal therapy in autoimmune diseases would completely eliminate all disease-causing B cells with either a transient effect on the healthy immune system or by leaving the healthy immune cells intact, without requiring long-term treatment. A therapy that eliminated the disease-causing B cells with restoration of the normal immune system could enable an “immune reset,” restoring the body’s immune system to its normal function of fighting foreign invaders, not healthy tissues.

Autoimmune Diseases We Target

We have announced that we are developing T cell therapy candidates in the following disease areas:

Pemphigus Vulgaris (PV)

PV is an autoimmune disease that causes blisters on the skin and mucous membranes.

Muscle-Specific Kinase Myasthenia Gravis (MuSK MG)

MuSK MG is an autoimmune disease that causes debilitating and life-threatening muscle weakness.

Phospholipase A2 Receptor-Associated Membranous Nephropathy (PLA2R MN)

PLA2R-associated MN is an autoimmune disease that causes nephrotic syndrome and may lead to kidney failure.

Our Cell Therapy Pipeline

DesCAARTes™ Phase 1 Trial

We are currently recruiting patients with mPV for our Phase 1 trial.

Tell Me More About the Clinical Trial

Our Technology

Interested to see behind the curtain? Find out more about our CABA™ cell therapy platform.

Learn More About Our Cell Therapy Technology