TRACT Therapeutics is developing a personalized cellular product with the potential to change the therapeutic approach in transplant medicine by reducing or eliminating the need for immunosuppressive drug therapy.
This new approach could increase the long-term stability of the donated organ while dramatically improving the lives of transplant recipients.
Beyond organ transplantation, TRACT’s regulatory T cell therapy could also be utilized in the treatment of several autoimmune diseases, such as inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, and multiple sclerosis.
Fowler McCormick Professor of Surgery
Deputy Director, The Comprehensive Transplant Center
Director, Kidney Transplant Program, Division of Organ Transplantation, Northwestern Medical Group
Dr. Leventhal discovered and developed a T-regulatory (Treg) adoptive cell therapy (TRACT), upon which he founded TRACT Therapeutics with the late Gretchen Johnson.
Dr. Leventhal has been actively involved in basic and translational transplant research for 25 years. He is an international leader in the field of regulatory T cells, focusing his research on regulatory T cells and their potential for control of the immune system after organ transplantation.
Dr. Joseph Leventhal’s quest began in medical school, where he learned that transplanted organs do not last forever. For more than 25 years, Dr. Leventhal pursued what he calls “the holy grail” of the organ transplant medicine: a way to influence the body to accept a foreign organ while sparing the recipient years of serious and potentially fatal side effects associated with required anti-rejection drugs.
During his tenure as Director of Kidney and Pancreas Transplant Programs at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, Dr. Leventhal conducted groundbreaking research on alternative therapies that could reduce or eliminate the need for life-long immunosuppressive drug therapy following organ transplantation. Through extensive research, Dr. Leventhal and his colleagues discovered a particular subpopulation of T cells (known as Tregs) that would suppress immune responses.
A method was developed for isolating and expanding a patient’s own regulatory T immune cells in the laboratory. After a transplant procedure, a patient would be infused with their own immune cells, theoretically giving their bodies the ability to self-regulate their immune systems after transplant, thereby drastically reducing or potentially eliminating the need for sub-optimal and expensive immunosuppressive drugs.
Building on the possibilities of Dr. Leventhal’s research, TRACT Therapeutics, Inc. was created to formalize a regulatory pathway and clinical plan, build the infrastructure of an operating company, develop a commercialization plan, and deliver this breakthrough therapy to patients. All members of the TRACT Therapeutics team are dedicated to the scientific, medical, and commercial success of Dr. Leventhal’s vision to create immune tolerance.