Cancer is a natural process in an aging individual. The immune system through immunosurveillance has detected and removed dysfunctional cells many times before a cancer establishes and grows in the individual. Over the years we have developed strategies that slow down the growth and sometimes cure the patient. These are the pillars of current cancer management: Chemotherapy, Radiotherapy, and targeted therapies.
Today, with the rise of immune-oncology there is a fourth therapeutic arm.
We have identified three specific bottle-necks in immune-oncology.
priming/expansion of the immune system toward a cancer threat (e.g. neoantigens)
the protective barrier the tumor can use to shield itself from the immune cells (immune barrier)
the failure of activating an immune response once the immune cells have invaded the tumor.
The one common mode of action is to launch an immune reaction against neoantigens expressed on the MHC-I/-II complexes that present peptides to the immune system. In more recent years we use the tumors information to design personalized therapies using high-technology approaches to identify potential neoantigens. Re-educating the immune system with an autologous whole cell lysates, has been tried several times with limited success. One drawback were the few immune stimulatory peptides presented to the immune system in comparison to all the normal peptides generated and presented on MHC-complexes in the vaccination process.
The other approach is to sequence and identify mutations that are predicted to generate an immune response. By selecting a few epitopes and producing RNA/DNA/peptide based vaccine products for personalized therapeutic cancer vaccines. The problem with these two approaches are that you either go too broad, resulting in a weak immune response. Or too narrow and the immune system can not present the predicted neoantigens causing resistance.
Circular Biotech has found a low tech approach that tackles these two obstacles. Encouraged by great progress with RNA vaccines and Covid19, Circular Biotech is convinced that cancer vaccines will be the next breakthrough in immuno therapy.