Companies developing cell-based therapeutics have two basic choices. They can become service companies, maintaining quality standards by funneling everything through their own facilities. Or they can package products that any trained technician can manipulate.

Immuno-Designed Molecules S.A. has chosen the latter path, developing a disposable cell processor that the company says makes it possible for laboratories to work at GMP standards.

Cellular immunotherapy at IDM consists of removing a patient's cells and separating out the white blood cells, culturing them in the lab until they mature into macrophages, stimulating them in a solution composed primarily of gamma interferon, and reinjecting these macrophage activated killer (MAK) cells into the patient. Once in the patient, MAK cells pha-gocytize (engulf) tumor cells and then present tumor antigens to lymphocytes, to generate a specific anti-tumor immune response.

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IDM's MAK cells have TNF alpha inside their membranes, and they bind to TNF alpha receptors on the surface of tumor cells, which triggers phagocytosis. Incubating the MAK cells in gamma