According to a story from finanzen.at, the biotechnology company Orbsen Therapeutics recently announced that its immunotherapy product ORBCEL-C is to be tested in a multi-site clinical trial called MERLIN that is scheduled to take place in the UK. This clinical trial will test ORBCEL-C as a treatment for two different autoimmune liver diseases: primary sclerosing cholangitis and autoimmune hepatitis. Orbsen is focused on the development of stromal cell immunotherapies.
About Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis (PSC)
Primary sclerosing cholangitis is a progressive, long term rare disease which affects the function of the liver and gallbladder. It is most characterized by the scarring and inflammation of the bile ducts, which are essential for allowing bile to exit the gallbladder. Symptoms include itching, jaundice, portal hypertension, abdominal pain, malabsorption, hepatic encephalopathy, and dark urine. Treatment of primary sclerosing cholangitis is symptomatic and supportive, and there are currently no approved treatments specifically for the disease. To learn more about primary sclerosing cholangitis, click here.
About Autoimmune Hepatitis
Autoimmune hepatitis is a rare disease of the liver in which the body’s own immune system begins to mistakenly attack cells of the liver, triggering an inflammatory response. Symptoms of autoimmune hepatitis include abdominal pain, fatigue, jaundice, joint pain, liver failure, weight loss, fever, and nausea. The treatment of the disease typically involves the use of immunosuppressants, such as corticosteroids or chemotherapy agents. This disease can negatively affect life expectancy. To learn more about autoimmune hepatitis, click here.
Treating Autoimmune Hepatitis and Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis
Both of these illnesses are potentially lethal diseases that can lead to cancer or cirrhosis, requiring the patient to undergo a liver transplant to survive. Unfortunately, these transplants carry great risk for the patient. Less invasive and more effective treatment options are desperately needed.
The CEO of Orbsen, Dr. Larry Couture, says that ORBCEL-C has the potential to make a major impact on autoimmune, inflammatory diseases. The trial will look at a total of 56 patients with autoimmune hepatitis or primary sclerosing cholangitis as they undergo treatment with ORBCEL-C. Prior data suggests that this immunotherapy could help improve liver function and bring down inflammation. ORBCEL will also soon be tested in a number of other indications, such as acute respiratory distress syndrome and diabetic kidney disease.