The Cytokine Storm: The Immune Response Gone Awry
A Dangerous Condition Triggered by Multiple Diseases
Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS) Overview
Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS) is an overreaction of the immune system caused by excessive, prolonged cytokine production. This cascade of cytokines can lead to dangerous and potentially deadly systemic inflammation, often referred to as the Cytokine Storm.
CRS can be triggered by a wide range of indications, including viral and bacterial infections, autoimmune disorders, traumatic brain injury, as well as modern immunotherapies such as CAR T-cell therapy and Bispecific Antibodies.
CRS occurs when the body mounts an excessive and uncontrolled response to a disease or trauma. Left unchecked, CRS will drive the immune system to attack and damage healthy cells, tissues, and organs. This systemic inflammation can result in shock, multiple organ failure, and death.
The challenge of treating CRS is determining how to effectively tamp down the uncontrolled immune response while keeping the immune system functionally intact. Current treatments do too much or too little. Corticosteroids can shut down the immune system, but leave patients vulnerable to infection. Targeted antibodies can reduce specific cytokines, but CRS relies on multiple cytokines feedback loops.
Modulating and Rebalancing the Immune System
Cytokines play a critical role in enabling the immune system to protect the body from diseases and other sources of potential injury. Immune cells produce cytokines to activate and recruit other immune cells to help eliminate threats. These immune cells in turn produce their own cytokines to amplify this signal, recruiting more cells and creating a feedback loop resulting in a targeted inflammatory response.
Normally, the body balances this inflammatory response with a series of anti-inflammatory measures which downregulate the production of cytokines thereby restoring homeostasis. In the absence of adequate negative regulation, cytokine production and activation can spiral out of control, causing excessive systemic inflammation and leading to the dangerous condition of Cytokine Release Syndrome (CRS).
CytoAgents’ approach to treatment focuses on rebalancing the immune system by reducing the destructive impact of excessive cytokines while leaving necessary immune functions intact. CytoAgents lead drug candidate, CTO1681, activates the immune cells’ natural signaling pathway for downregulating the production of a broad range of cytokines. CTO1681 dramatically reduces, without eliminating, cytokine production by immune cells, rebalancing the immune response while leaving its necessary functions intact. This novel approach has certain advantages over other treatments strategies, namely:
- CTO1681 affects a broad range of cytokines, therefore is less likely to be circumvented by redundant signaling pathways
- CTO1681 can be used not only to treat CRS, but also to prevent it from occurring
- CTO1681 is a small molecule treatment, which offers cost-advantages and a broader range of delivery options