Scancell is developing a pipeline of ImmunoBody® and Moditope® vaccines, primarily for the treatment of cancer
Scancell’s Immunobody® immunotherapy platform enhances the uptake and presentation of cancer antigens to harness the high avidity T cell responses that destroy tumours. The platform has been validated both in animals and in the clinic with SCIB1 but many opportunities also exist for the development of additional ImmunoBody® vaccines, both for cancer and chronic infectious diseases.
SCIB2 targets the lung cancer antigen NY-ESO-1. It has been developed to the point at which the product is fully defined and ready for further preclinical development as a potential immunotherapy for any tumour that expresses the NY-ESO-1 antigen such as lung, oesophageal, gastric, ovarian and bladder cancers.
ImmunoBody® vaccines for prostate, liver and colorectal cancer have also been further advanced.
Scancell’s Moditope® immunotherapy platform is based on exploiting the normal immune response to stressed cells, which is largely mediated by CD4+ T cells, and harnessing this mechanism to eradicate cancer cells. Scancell’s first target for Moditope® is vimentin – a major cytoskeletal protein found in mesenchymal cells. Many epithelial tumours switch from expression of cytokeratin to vimentin during metastasis in a process known as epithelial mesenchymal transition (EMT); this change in phenotype enables the cell to become mobile and metastasize to new locations in the body.
Scancell has now selected two modified vimentin peptides in which the arginine residues have been substituted by citrulline to form the basis of its first Moditope® development candidate, Modi-1. The inclusion of additional modified peptides from other Moditope® target proteins into Modi-1 is currently under review. Animal studies have shown that the two vimentin peptides stimulate potent anti-tumour responses and leads to significant improvements in survival, suggesting that the Modi-1 product could have outstanding potential as a novel immunotherapy. Immune response studies with cells isolated from cancer patients have confirmed that T cell responses were stimulated by both modified vimentin peptides.
Optimisation studies have identified the adjuvant, dose and administration route for testing Modi-1 in the First in Man study. In animal studies, an aggressive tumour cell line confirmed that the two vimentin peptides eradicate tumour cells in a therapeutic, and therefore clinically relevant, setting. Remarkably, these responses were evident when tumours had reached a late stage of development.
Moditope® vaccines have the potential to treat a wide variety of cancers. Scancell is currently further evaluating the initial indications for the first clinical trial with Modi-1 in terms of clinical need and market opportunity
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