Scancell embarks on strategic collaboration with world-leading research team at Karolinska Institutet
Collaboration to further explore the role of citrullination in cancer, a key mechanism underpinning the Moditope® platform
Scancell Holdings plc, (‘Scancell’ or the ‘Company’) the developer of novel immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer, announces that it has embarked on a strategic research collaboration with scientists at the Rheumatology Unit at Karolinska Institutet, Sweden, led by Professors Lars Klareskog and Vivianne Malmström. The collaboration will further explore the scientific and clinical role of citrullinated proteins in the treatment of cancer.
Scancell’s Moditope® platform technology overcomes the immune suppression induced by tumours themselves, allowing activated T cells to seek out and kill tumour cells that would otherwise be hidden from the immune system. This is achieved by stimulating the production of CD4+ T cells using citrullinated tumour-associated peptide epitopes, which overcome self-tolerance and destroy tumour cells.
The teams of Professors Klareskog and Malmström have uncovered a central role for citrullinated proteins in the pathogenesis of the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis. Conversely, Scancell has discovered that citrullinated proteins are also targets on cancer cells and this underpins the use of citrullinated peptides in the Company’s Moditope® cancer immunotherapy platform.
The groups of Professors Klareskog and Malmström perform world-leading research in the area of rheumatology and their work has been published in a number of leading academic journals, including Nature, Lancet, Arthritis & Rheumatism, Nature Medicine, Nature Genetics and Annual Review of Immunology.
Professor Lindy Durrant, Joint CEO of Scancell and Professor of Cancer Immunotherapy at Nottingham University, commented:
“Our research has previously shown that citrullinated proteins are involved in the control of tumour growth, which led us to the development of the Moditope® platform. The teams of professors Klareskog and Malmström have developed an understanding of the role of citrullinated proteins in the pathogenesis of the autoimmune disease, rheumatoid arthritis. We believe that this strategic collaboration with Karolinska will enhance our joint understanding of the role that citrullination plays in both cancer and rheumatoid arthritis, and will help us develop the Moditope® platform to its full potential.”
Professor Lars Klareskog, MD, PhD, at Karolinska Institutet, added:
“Citrullinated proteins have been implicated in the pathogenesis of rheumatoid arthritis. Collaborating with Scancell will allow us to further explore the role of immunity to citrullinated proteins in the control of tumour growth, and we are delighted to be working with Scancell on this exciting project.”
For Further Information:
Dr Richard Goodfellow, Joint CEO
Professor Lindy Durrant, Joint CEO
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Maisie Atkinson (Sales)
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Scancell is developing novel immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer based on its ImmunoBody® and Moditope® technology platforms.
Scancell’s first ImmunoBody®, SCIB1 is being developed for the treatment of melanoma and is being evaluated in a Phase 1/2 clinical trial. Data from the trial demonstrate that SCIB1, when used as monotherapy, has a marked effect on tumour load, produces a melanoma-specific immune response and highly encouraging survival trend without serious side effects. In patients with resected disease there is increasing evidence to suggest that SCIB1 may delay or prevent disease recurrence.
Scancell’s ImmunoBody® vaccines target dendritic cells and stimulate both parts of the cellular immune system: the helper cell system where inflammation is stimulated at the tumour site and the cytotoxic Tlymphocyte or CTL response where immune system cells are primed to recognise and kill specific cells.
Pre-clinical data on a combination of SCIB1 or SCIB2 and checkpoint inhibition (blockade of the PD-1 or CTLA-4 immune checkpoint pathways) have shown enhanced tumour destruction and significantly longer
survival times than when either treatment was used alone.
Scancell has also identified and patented a series of modified epitopes that stimulate the production of killer CD4+ T cells that destroy tumours without toxicity. The Directors believe that the Moditope® platform could
play a major role in the development of safe and effective cancer immunotherapies in the future.
About Karolinska Institutet
Karolinska Institutet is one of the world's leading medical universities. Its vision is to significantly contribute to the improvement of human health. Karolinska Institutet accounts for over 40 per cent of the medical
academic research conducted in Sweden and offers the country´s broadest range of education in medicine and health sciences. The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet selects the Nobel laureates in Physiology