Charles River Laboratories is incorporating HemaCare’s human peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) into its NCG mouse model, further complementing its services in immuno-oncology and infectious diseases research.
Co-developed by Nanjing University and Nanjing Galaxy Biopharma in China using CRISPR/Cas 9 technology, Charles River’s NCG model is more immunocompromised than other commonly used mouse models like NOD-SCID mice. When engrafted with PBMCs, these NCG mice can quickly develop human immune cells, forming an environment that resembles a human immune system.
Such humanized mouse models allow researchers to examine drug candidates’ interaction with the immune system for a short time of about up to three months before they head into human tests. They can be used to study cancer treatments that include immunotherapy and gene therapy, as well as other disease states related to the immune system, such as infectious disease, graft vs. host disease, and diabetes, said Lou Juliano, HemaCare’s SVP of global sales & business development.
The challenge that researchers often face is that engraftment varies with each donor. To save them potentially weeks of work needed to qualify donor cells, HemaCare will evaluate PBMCs in advance for use in the Charles River kits, Juliano told FierceCRO. Donors are chosen based on their engraftment success rates and immunogenicity to minimize study losses and measurable response.
“We’ve formed a strategic alliance with HemaCare because they have one of the largest donor databases in the world, an FDA-approved collection center, and the ability to pre-screen and qualify the donors,” said Iva Morse, Charles River's CSO of global RMS.
For more than 40 years, HemaCare has developed and managed a large pool of donors specifically for apheresis collection. It has completed more than 250,000 apheresis procedures and in 2017 added 750 new donors, said Juliano.
The company has supply agreements with Cellectis, Dendreon and Sotio, and a recent Novartis CAR-T study also used its PBMC cells.