A phase 1/2 clinical trial of invariant natural killer T cell therapy in moderate-severe acute respiratory distress syndrome.

Document Type


Publication Date


Publication Title

Nat Commun


Humans; Natural Killer T-Cells; Cytokines; Respiratory Distress Syndrome; Neoplasms; Anti-Inflammatory Agents; california; santa monica


Invariant natural killer T (iNKT) cells, a unique T cell population, lend themselves for use as adoptive therapy due to diverse roles in orchestrating immune responses. Originally developed for use in cancer, agenT-797 is a donor-unrestricted allogeneic ex vivo expanded iNKT cell therapy. We conducted an open-label study in virally induced acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome-2 virus (trial registration NCT04582201). Here we show that agenT-797 rescues exhausted T cells and rapidly activates both innate and adaptive immunity. In 21 ventilated patients including 5 individuals receiving veno-venous extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (VV-ECMO), there are no dose-limiting toxicities. We observe an anti-inflammatory systemic cytokine response and infused iNKT cells are persistent during follow-up, inducing only transient donor-specific antibodies. Clinical signals of associated survival and prevention of secondary infections are evident. Cellular therapy using off-the-shelf iNKT cells is safe, can be rapidly scaled and is associated with an anti-inflammatory response. The safety and therapeutic potential of iNKT cells across diseases including infections and cancer, warrants randomized-controlled trials.

Clinical Institute





Sleep Medicine


Critical Care Medicine