Scancell Holdings plc (‘Scancell’ or the ‘Company’), the developer of novel immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer, notes Nottingham Trent University’s announcement that using Scancell’s Immunobody® technology, they have unlocked a protein that could pave the way for future prostate cancer vaccinations. The full text of Nottingham Trent University’s announcement follows:
SCIENTISTS UNLOCK PROSTATE CANCER PROTEIN IN MOVE WHICH COULD LEAD TO IMPROVED CANCER VACCINES
UK scientists have identified how a specific region of a prostate-related protein can be used to trigger the body’s immune response against prostate cancer. The study by scientists at Nottingham Trent University – and published in the European Journal of Immunology – could pave the way for new and improved vaccines for prostate cancer.
The work focused on the prostatic acid phosphatase (PAP) protein, which is present in more than 90% of prostate tumours. Scientists were able to develop a new prostate cancer vaccination strategy utilising a portion, or ‘epitope’ of this PAP protein – PAP 114 – which was capable of preventing and reducing tumour growth in pre-clinical trials.
The team believes the study could lead to the development of new vaccines which are able to generate a more specific, more efficient, faster and longer-lasting protective immune response against prostate cancer.
It might also mean that vaccines could be developed at a lower cost than currently, and with fewer potential side effects, say the scientists, who are based in the university's John van Geest Cancer Research Centre.
Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in the UK – each year more than 10,000 men will die as a result of prostate cancer and more than 40,000 will be diagnosed with the disease. Cases are rising among men over 50 and the average age for men to be diagnosed is between 70 and 74.
Although cancer vaccines can be formulated in a number of different ways, the approach devised by the scientists for this PAP vaccine would involve a series of injections.
Dr Stephanie McArdle, lead researcher based in Nottingham Trent University’s John van Geest Cancer Research Centre, said: “Unfortunately for most cancers, the specific targets against which vaccination strategies can be based are sometimes weak and relatively poor at inducing robust, protective anti-tumour immune responses.
“Developing cancer vaccines that can overcome the capacity of tumours to ‘evade’ the immune system and induce protective anti-tumour immunity is therefore essential for the development of new immunotherapies for aggressive disease.
"Our findings demonstrate that PAP-114 is a promising candidate for further development of PAP-based anti-cancer vaccine strategies. It induces characteristics that are consistent with anti-tumour protection; capable of triggering an immune attack against prostate cancer cells and protecting against established prostate tumours."
The epitopes of the PAP protein were delivered to the immune system using Scancell’s proprietary ImmunoBody® technology.
Notes for editors:
Nottingham Trent University’s John van Geest Cancer Research Centre is a unique purpose-built scientific facility. Its aim is to save lives and speed recovery by improving the early diagnosis and treatment of cancer.
The centre focuses on two key approaches to the treatment of patients with cancer:
- Improving the diagnosis and management of breast and prostate cancers
- Developing effective vaccines and immunotherapies that will significantly improve the survival rates and quality of life for cancer sufferers.
Visit the John van Geest Cancer Research Centre website to find out more about its work, or to make a donation towards its vital scientific research.
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 in Phase 1/2 clinical trials. Preliminary evidence from Part 1 of the study showing that SCIB1 produced an immune response which might be associated with clinical benefit in patients with malignant melanoma was released in December 2012.
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 T-lymphocyte or CTL response where immune system cells are primed to recognise and kill specific cells.
Scancell has also identified and patented a series of modified epitopes that stimulate the production of killer CD4 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.
The paper in the European Journal of Immunology can be accessed here.
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