Taking ACTioN

Bringing the science of cell therapy into autoimmune disease, together

CAR T cell therapy is a proven, transformational treatment across many forms of blood cancer, and holds the potential to make similar advances within the care of patients with certain autoimmune diseases.

With industry-leading expertise, Bristol Myers Squibb is leveraging cutting-edge research capabilities across cell therapies, T-cell engagers and more, combined with a deep well of partnerships across cell therapy and immunology, to pioneer new frontiers and bring CAR T cell therapy beyond cancer and into the field of autoimmune disease. 

Scientific collaboration plays a crucial role in making new discoveries and accelerating these advances to patients. That’s why BMS is convening ACTioN (Autoimmunity Cell Therapy Network), with leading academics and physicians to advance cell therapy in autoimmune diseases – together.



Advancing the science together: Introducing ACTioN

BMS has established the ACTioN Steering Committee, with key leaders in the field, to build an extended network of trusted clinical experts within the autoimmune and cell therapy communities, to accelerate these treatments from bench to clinic.

Our ACTioN Pillars are three-fold: scientific leadership, clinical leadership and ecosystem expansion. Together, we will gather insights, discuss strategies for investment and research, address challenges and chart a path forward. 
opening quoteWe are thrilled, inspired and privileged to establish the first-of-its-kind ACTioN Network, bringing together a group of autoimmune and cell therapy luminaries to collaborate in this unique scientific and clinical community to tackle the complex challenges in this arena. With these leaders coming together, we are poised to propel the field forward to unlock the full promise of cell therapy for patients with autoimmune diseases. closing quote

Jonathan Leith, PhD Chair

Daniela van Eickels, MD, MPH Co-Chair

Rosanna Ricafort, MD Co-Chair


Urgent need for advancement within autoimmune diseases

People living with serious autoimmune diseases face a range of progressive, often severe symptoms that profoundly impact their quality of life and can lead to life-threatening organ damage or death.

  • People with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) live with a range of debilitating symptoms that escalate significantly over time and can lead to life-threatening organ damage due to chronic immunosuppression. Most patients living with lupus are women diagnosed between the ages of 15 and 44, with full lives ahead of them. Moreover, the disease is three times more likely to occur among people of African American or Latin descent.  
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS) attacks the central nervous system and greatly impacts people’s ability to complete daily tasks, with more severe symptoms including permanent neurodegeneration and cognitive decline. MS is considered an “immune-mediated disease,” in which the body’s immune system affects the brain and spinal cord. MS can develop at any age, but most commonly appears between the ages of 20 and 40. The most common form, relapsing-remitting MS, is characterized by relapses, or attacks of symptoms getting worse.
  • Idiopathic inflammatory myopathies (IIM) are a group of conditions characterized by the inflammation of muscles and other body systems, which can cause symptoms like weakness and difficulty swallowing or breathing. The median age of onset is 45, and all subtypes occur more commonly in women.
  • Systemic sclerosis (SSc) is a group of rare diseases that involve the hardening and tightening of the skin, and in severe cases can involve the lungs, heart and other organs. The age of onset ranges between 20 and 50 years old, and the condition is also more common among women than men. Prognosis for patients with SSc is poor, and it carries the highest mortality rate among autoimmune disorders.

Across these diseases, patients often get diagnosed at a young age, and face a lifetime of symptoms that require frequent and burdensome treatment. And while currently available treatment approaches offer many patients great relief, they are focused on reducing symptoms and controlling disease flares, not addressing the underlying disease itself.

Patients who have been living with their diseases for years have a poor quality of life and prognosis. There is a clear and urgent need for innovative one-time treatment options that directly address the underlying condition and enable patients to achieve sustained treatment-free remission and disease control.

More to come

BMS, in collaboration with members of ACTioN, is working to identify areas for investment that help meet the goals of this research initiative. Stay tuned for updates on this research and its impact as we seek to elevate patient care to new standards.