Scancell expands cancer research deal with Karolinska Institute

UK immunotherapy biotech Scancell Holdings has extended its strategic research collaboration with the Rheumatology Unit at the Karolinska Institute Sweden, to explore the potential of its tech in a wider range of agents including T-cell receptor therapies.

The expanded agreement will explore the potential of the Moditope platform, which uses citrullinated tumour-associated peptide epitopes to stimulate the production of killer CD4+ T cells.

The activated T cells seek out and kill tumour cells that would otherwise be hidden from the immune system.

Scientists at the Rheumatology Unit at the Karolinska Institute, led by Professors Lars Klareskog and Vivianne Malmström, previously uncovered an essential role for citrullinated proteins in the pathogenesis of the autoimmune disease rheumatoid arthritis.

This collaboration builds on the previous agreement, announced in March 2016, which allowed the parties to explore how immunity to citrullinated proteins is involved in the control of tumour growth for the development of cancer vaccines.

Broadening this agreement will allow further investigation into the potential of Moditope for any cancer immunotherapy, including T-Cell Receptor based therapeutics.

Lindy Durrant

Lindy Durrant

Scancell’s chief scientific officer, Lindy Durrant, said: “We are pleased to have broadened our research collaboration with Professor Klareskog, Professor Malmström and their colleagues at the Karolinska Institute. Our research has shown that citrullinated proteins are involved in the control of tumour growth and we believe that this expanded collaboration will help us to develop Moditope, not only for use in cancer vaccines, but also as part of other cancer immunotherapy approaches.”

Professor Lars Klareskog, at Karolinska Institute, added: “The collaboration with Scancell will allow us to investigate the relationships between autoimmunity and cancer and the therapeutic opportunities that may be uncovered from such studies.”

Scancell is developing novel immunotherapies for the treatment of cancer based on its ImmunoBody and Moditope technology platforms.

ImmunoBody vaccines target dendritic cells and stimulate both parts of the cellular immune system. They can be used as monotherapy or in combination with checkpoint inhibitors. This platform has the potential to enhance tumour destruction, prevent disease recurrence and extend survival.

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