Currently, there is no cure for lymphopenia. NT-I7 reconstitutes and strengthens the T cell immune system, so that it can better fight against cancer and infection. NT-I7 has a potential to treat and prevent lymphopenia either in cancer patients who have low level and poor quality of lymphocytes in blood and in tumor region, or in patients with suppressed immune system who have or are vulnerable to infectious diseases.

1) What is Lymphopenia?

Lymphopenia, or lymphocytopenia is the condition of having an abnormally low level of lymphocytes. It causes lowered immune responses to cancer and increased risk of life-threatening infections. About 25% of cancer patients have lymphopenia at the time of diagnosis, and up to 95% of patients receiving chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy may suffer lymphopenia after multiple treatments of certain regimens.

2) Composition of Lymphocytes NT-I7 specifically acts in T cell population
T lymphocytes are critical to the immune system's ability to detect and kill cancer cells. However, the immune system is unable to kill cancer cells when T cells are deficient in number or functionality, thus failing to recognize cancer as foreign to the body.

3) Grades of Lymphopenia

4) Majority of cancer patients​​ have lymphopenia and are associated with:

  • 1. Low response rate for chemotherapy and high relapse rate
  • 2. Low response rate for immunotherapy
  • 3. Low survival rate
  • 4. Increase of opportunistic infection such as RSV, CMV, EBV, JC virus and PCP
  • 5. Increase of hematological toxicity secondary to chemotherapy

5) No Commercialized Drug for Lymphopenia

6) Lymphopenia and cancer

Lymphopenia is an independent prognostic marker to predict unfavorable overall survival of cancer patients. Recent publications in the immune-oncology field indicate that cancer patients with lymphopenia exhibit substantially shorter survival time and low response rate to chemo/radiotherapy or immunotherapy. (Cancer Res., 2009; 69(13): 5383-5391; Annals of Oncology, 2013, 24; 1697-1703; Cancer Chemother Pharmacol 2011;68:1305–1313; In vivo 2005; 19: 1077 - 1080)

7) Major lymphopenic conditions as the target indications of NT-I7

  • HSCT (hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation): HSCT induces severe lymphopenia, causing bacterial or fungal infections, and therapy-associated lymphopenia sets patients at risk for reactivation of endogenous viruses and other opportunistic infections. Relapse of cancer after HSCT for hematological cancer patients is a significant concern as well.
  • Acute Radiation Syndrome (ARS): an acute illness caused by irradiation of the entire body (or most of the body) by a high dose of penetrating radiation in a very short period of time (usually a matter of minutes). Examples of people who suffered from ARS are the survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki atomic bombs, the firefighters that first responded after the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant event in 1986, and some unintentional exposures to sterilization irradiators.
  • Idiopathic CD4 lymphopenia (ICL): an unusual immune defect in which there is an unexplained deficit of CD4 T cells, leading to fungal, parasitic or other serious opportunistic infections. Current treatment efforts are directed at eliminating infections.