SciLifeLab Group leader, Sara Mangsbo, Uppsala University, and her immunotherapeutic cancer vaccine delivery-platform, is now ready to leave the SciLifeLab Drug Discovery and Development platform (DDD).
The immunotherapeutic cancer vaccine delivery platform is based on a new technique, called Adaptable Drug Affinity Conjugate (ADAC), that can help the immune system to detect “invisible” tumors and mount an attack against them. This is achieved by letting antigen presenting dendritic cells (DCs) present tumor specific antigens, identified from patient tumor samples, to activate T-cells, enabling them to identify and attack the tumor, describes SciLifeLab in a press release.
“We have chosen a partly alternative strategy and developed a method reminiscent of vaccination, where we, through an injection, make the tumor visible to the immune system and accelerate the production of the specific T cells required.”
“Immunotherapy is riding on a wave of success, but still faces the challenge of increasing the body’s number of tumor-specific T cells and getting them to seek out and destroy the cancer cells. We have chosen a partly alternative strategy and developed a method reminiscent of vaccination, where we, through an injection, make the tumor visible to the immune system and accelerate the production of the specific T cells required,” says Sara Mangsbo.
The research team have designed a new CD40-based tetravalent bispecific antibody linked to an anti peptide tag that holds the synthesized peptide chains. When the antibodies bind to, and activate dendritic cells, the peptides become internalized and can be presented to the T cells. This design has been shown to provide optimal stability for the peptides as well as successfully deliver them to the dendritic cells where they subsequently activate the T cells.
Collaboration with Testa Center
The team has also been collaborating with Testa Center to make the necessary preparations following clinical trials. Here, they have access to high-quality equipment and expertise on upscaling biological processes, which makes it possible to test the potential of the new delivery system at an early stage. They were also able to investigate important factors like production and purification processes, and the stability of the antibody.
A new company: Strike Pharma AB
Now, the researchers will continue to develop the method within the framework of the newly started company, Strike Pharma AB, in which they unite researchers from Uppsala University and KTH, among others.
“We believe that it is the right environment for us to take the next step regarding the design and production of the specific antibody that we have developed. If we reach our goal it can lead to a significantly shorter path to cancer treatment, but we have also identified great potential concerning outside cancer. In Strike Pharma AB, we muster a very competent line-up and have the funding to take us a long way, so the future definitely looks promising,” says Mangsbo.
Photo of Sara Mangsbo: Mikael Wallerstedt/Uppsala University