Skip to main content

Basel researchers developing universal cancer therapy

| News

Basel researchers developing universal cancer therapy


Researchers from Basel are working on the development of a therapy in which pre-prepared immune cells can be used to treat any form of cancer immediately after diagnosis. A startup now intends to use 30 million US dollars in seed funding to finance the transition towards clinical development.

Researcher and entrepreneur Lucia Mori (img: University of Basel, Oliver Hochstrasser)

Dr. Lucia Mori from the Department of Biomedicine at the University of Basel is working on the development of a revolutionary cancer therapy. According to a press release issued by the university, this would represent substantial progress even in comparison with personalized immune therapies. While these facilitate high-precision treatment, they also take time. “Wouldn’t it be great if we could just reach into the freezer following a cancer diagnosis, and have a ready-made pack of immune cells ready to go? Regardless of the type of cancer?”, Mori states, highlighting the key advantage of her solution.

Together with her colleagues, Mori, who was born in Italy, identified cells in the human immune system that would be able to attack various types of cancer cells as part of her research in Basel – “the best place in the world for immunological research”, she claims. These MR1T cells are able to detect tumors and attack MR1, which is a protein carried by nearly all cancer cells. In the lab, MR1T cells can be customized so that that they can be used to combat a whole host of cancer indications.

“Our aim is to manipulate T cells from healthy donors in such a way that they can target the combinations of MR1 and other characteristic molecules on the surface of cancer cells”, Mori explains in the press release. As these characteristics are often shared by the same cancer types, the relevant therapies could be prepared in advance. For example, this kind of treatment could be used to fight breast, bowel and lung cancers.

The focus is now on transitioning to clinical development. For this, Mori co-founded the start-up Matterhorn Biosciences, which has already raised 30 million US Dollars in seed financing from Versant Ventures.

You may also be interested in

Roche investing an additional 1.2 billion Swiss francs in Basel

Roche will be putting an additional 1.2 billion Swiss francs towards the renovation of its site in Basel. This investment...
Read More

Nouscom secures 67.5 million euros in financing

Biotech company Nouscom has raised 67.5 million euros in a series C financing round. The Basel-based firm intends to use...
Read More

How open innovation in healthtech hubs is fueling the rise of digital healthcare

How the ever-increasing uptake of digital solutions is enhancing patient engagement, increasing access to care and lowering the cost of...
Read More

Paradigm shift in pain management

Pain is a crucial sensation for survival, but it can also drive us to depression and long-term suffering if not...
Read More

Investors stump up 3.7 million Swiss francs in Onena Medicines

Onena Medicines has secured an investment of 3.7 million Swiss francs. The portfolio company of the biotech startup incubator BaseLaunch...
Read More