CEO Lisa Patel wants to invite patients to the table and put their everyday experiences of living with chronic diseases at the forefront of future drug development.
Last year, Connie Chang’s article in the National Geographic ‘The end of inflammation? New approach could treat dozens of diseases’ felt like a huge step forward for the medical science community. Not only was Chang speaking a narrative very closely aligned to our work (and hearts) at Istesso, but the fact that it had made its way into a mainstream publication was monumental. She placed the patient experience at the centre of her publication, introducing Finney Harden’s honest account of what living with Lupus is truly like, and examining the limitations of the current treatments available. Harden described that, at times, the cure felt worse than the disease. The current system needs to do better for patients and, for us, that is why the momentum of these all-important patient stories need to continue happening in the mainstream, encouraging the medical community to do things differently, and allowing drug developers who are pioneering change to gain support with their mission.
A year on from Chang’s article, and inflammation is still hitting the headlines, with the likes of Tim Spector joining the conversation and making medical concepts accessible for the public. Spector states that, “Nearly every disease is associated with some disorder of inflammation, and it’s now considered a key part of ageing. So chronic inflammation really is an issue and something we should be trying to reduce.” We at Istesso couldn’t agree more. Not only should we try to reduce it, but we need to do it better.
And that’s a thought echoed by Chang. Traditional treatments, like prednisone, suppress the immune system and can have toxic side effects, leaving the body vulnerable to further infections. This ‘trade off’ is something that we accept in the pharmaceutical and medical communities. But perhaps we shouldn’t accept it. The further I’ve progressed in my career the more I’ve been struck by the huge unmet needs that patients are facing that aren’t being addressed by current treatments. There are different ways of thinking about delivering innovation – listening to the voice of the patient, really understanding the challenges they face in their lives, and really trying to think outside of the box, outside the system, to develop drugs that would really change patients’ lives.
At Istesso, we’re focusing on disease resolution to revolutionise the way we think about and treat chronic diseases in the future. Our approach has the potential to go beyond conventional disease modification by rebuilding damaged tissue to restore normal architecture. This could enable patients to not only reduce symptoms but also reverse their decline, resolving disease and regaining lost function. Such a change would redefine the way we address autoimmune conditions and bring hope to millions of patients worldwide.
Find out where we are in our pipeline here.