Immuno-Oncology

Our immuno-oncology focus is to trigger the patient’s own immune system to eradicate cancer. Immunotherapies are now being studied to “turn on the lights” so the immune system can identify and kill cancer.

The tumor microenvironment is the cellular neighborhood in which the tumor exists, including blood vessels, immune cells and other cell types, signaling molecules and extracellular matrix. A major challenge is that tumors can influence their microenvironments by releasing signals which camouflage the tumor cells.

Our investigational approach is to trigger the immune system to enable recognition of the tumor cells and eradicate them. We accomplish this by genetically modifying the patient’s own cancer cells to produce one of the most potent signaling agents, the cytokine IL-12. IL-12 is the KEY cytokine in the initiation a powerful immune response instructing the immune system to identify, target and kill cancer cells. The result is a novel approach to activate cytotoxic CD4+ T cells to specifically eliminate tumor cells. A long-lasting anti-cancer immune response is maintained via memory CD8+ T cells.

Cancer Immunotherapy Overview

Publications

Nelles ME, Moreau JM, Furlonger CL, Berger A, Medin JA, Paige CJ. Murine splenic CD4+ T cells, induced by innate immune cell interactions and secreted factors, develop antileukemia cytotoxicity.
Cancer Immunology Res. 2(11):1113-24(2014).

Wei, Louis Z; Xu Y, Nelles EM, Furlonger C, Wang JCM, Di Grappa MA, Khokha R, Medin JA, Paige CJ. Localized interleukin-12 delivery for immunotherapy of solid tumours.
J. Cellular & Molecular Medicine 17(11):1465-74 (2013).

Labbe A, Nelles M, Walia J, Jia L, Furlonger C, Nonaka T, Medin JA, Paige CJ. IL-12 immunotherapy of murine leukaemia: comparison of systemic versus gene modified cell therapy.
J. Cellular & Molecular Medicine 13(8B):1962-76 (2009).