Laura Shawver, Capstan Therapeutics CEO

Backed by five phar­ma gi­ants and a crew of Penn su­per­stars, a start­up us­es mR­NA to cre­ate in vi­vo CAR-T — with a pro at the helm

Ear­li­er this year, Jonathan Ep­stein and oth­er sci­en­tists at Penn pub­lished a pa­per in Sci­ence that spelled out the in­trigu­ing re­sults of a mouse study. Us­ing CD-5 tar­get­ed lipid nanopar­ti­cles, the tiny ve­hi­cles used to car­ry mes­sen­ger RNA, they were able to re­pro­gram T lym­pho­cytes in­to CAR-Ts in vi­vo, in the body. Trained to rec­og­nize fi­brot­ic cells specif­i­cal­ly in the heart, the sci­en­tists in­volved were able to re­store car­diac func­tion in mice.

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