We looked at what took place in the busy and exciting field of Therapeutics in 2022, and picked three breakthroughs worth your attention:
Autoimmune disease therapy breakthrough using cell therapy
CAR T-cell therapy has been a breakthrough in oncology and has yielded positive results, especially in the treatment of hematological malignancies. In a recent study in Germany, CART cells were used to treat lupus, a severe autoimmune disease. Five people who had not responded to available options for lupus were treated with CART cells. Treatment resulted in disease remission for all five study participants. This early success raises hopes for the broad application of CAR T cells for tackling other autoimmune conditions as well, including rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis.
Robotic capsules to deliver drugs to the gut
Delivering large proteins orally has posed a major challenge since such drugs can’t pass through the mucus barrier that lines the digestive tract. That is why insulin and other large-molecule drugs, such as proteins or nucleic acids need to be injected or administered in the hospital. A group at the Massachusetts Institute of Synology is working on solving this problem by developing a new drug capsule, the RoboCap. The capsule has a robotic cap that upon reaching the small intestine, spines and tunnels through the mucus barrier, allowing drugs carried by the capsule to pass into cells lining the intestine. Read more on how RoboCap works here.
Two indications, one drug: Tirzepatide
At the beginning of the year Tirzepatide was featured in all lists as one of the most anticipated drug launches, expected to have a big impact on patient care in 2022. It is a once-weekly injectable dual glucose-dependent insulinotropic polypeptide (GIP) and glucagon-like peptide receptor agonist (GLP-1) sold by Eli Lilly under the commercial name Mounjaro, looking at regulatory approval not for one but two indications within 2022. In May Tirzepatide was approved by the FDA for improving glycemic control among adults with type II diabetes and in the last quarter of 2022 it is looking at a probable FDA fast-track designation for treating obese or overweight patients. Both diseases affect millions of patients and are significant drivers of healthcare costs, with multiple comorbidities, hence Tirzepatide offers new hope for Type II diabetes and obese patients and Lilly boosts significantly its growth landing this one-two punch.