Activating the immune system against solid and blood-borne cancers
The most exciting developments in cancer treatment today involve medicines that activate a patient’s own immune system to destroy cancer cells, known as cancer immunotherapy or the field of immuno-oncology. The goal of these therapies is to help the immune system to detect and attack cancer cells as well as to enable other anti-cancer treatments to work more effectively. While our immune primer aims to activate the patient’s own immune system against cancer, our relapse vaccines are targeted to help the immune system to control residual disease following initial treatment and reduce recurrence of the tumor. With this dual approach, we aim to provide more effective cancer therapy and minimize the chance for disease relapse following treatment to truly change the course of cancer for patients.
The allogeneic dendritic cells that are the basis for Immunicum’s technology platforms are designed to be both potent immune primers and vaccines that recruit and activate the patient’s own immune cells, and stimulate them towards a targeted cell-killing (or: cytotoxic) immune response, which is required to attack cancer cells.
Immunicum’s priming approach is to activate a patient’s own immune system against cancer within their own body. The technology is based on seminal discoveries by its scientific founders, led by Immunicum’s CSO Alex Karlsson-Parra. With decades of expertise in the field of immunology, his team discovered that dendritic cells, which are a key part of the body’s immune reaction cascade, could be used from healthy donors in a highly activated fashion and then administered into a patient’s tumor to activate the immune system against the cancer. These ‘allogeneic dendritic cells’, which have been activated by Immunicum’s proprietary process, could serve as an immune primer to increase the body’s own ability to specifically attack the cancer cells.
Immunicum’s vaccination approach is expected to increase the immune system’s ability to recognize specific tumor antigens to prevent or delay cells carrying these antigens from manifesting as a new tumor. This approach could be combined with other immuno-oncology approaches, launching a highly disruptive combination therapy against hard-to-treat tumors with a high risk of relapse and significantly impacting the lives of cancer patients.