A novel immunotherapy approach, developed by ImMAGE Biotherapeutics to treat triple negative breast cancer (TNBC), shows promising results in laboratory culture studies and is now being tested in animal models.
The company is working to develop a way to use the body’s own immune system to target the MAGE A protein. TNBC does not express the genes for estrogen receptor (ER), progesterone receptor (PR) or Her2/neu.
MAGE-A proteins constitute a sub-family of antigens expressed mainly, but not exclusively, in germ cells. They are also found in various other human cancers where they can drive malignancy. MAGE-A proteins are highly immunogenic and are considered as potential targets for cancer vaccines and immunotherapy.
“After completing in vitro trials, I’m even more confident in our team’s ability to transform groundbreaking research into a tangible patient therapy. All of our results were strong and conclusive — some even better than we anticipated,” said Mahesh Narayanan, the company’s chief operating officer in a release. “Right now we’re witnessing an immunotherapy revolution in cancer treatment, especially in the U.S., and we plan to play a big part for TNBC and other cancers as we begin our animal testing phase.”
During in vitro laboratory studies, researchers analyzed MAGE A protein expression and checked the DNA delivery system antigenic peptide expression. The team used laboratory test experiments to prove that the antigenic peptides used were able to trigger a strong immune response.
ImMAGE is currently testing if the right immune cells are being stimulated to destroy targeted cancer cells and researchers are using animal models to test whether the approach can prevent a tumor from growing or reduce an existing tumor.
“The projected results, when realized, will allow for the company’s MAGE-A TNBC immunotherapy to enter clinical trials in record time,” said the company’s Chief Scientific Officer Dr. Anton Dormer. “The novel technology design allows for the development of a treatment that is cutting edge, providing hope to thousands of patients.”
ImMAGE is planning to file for the FDA’s Investigational New Drug (IND) program that could lead toPhase 1 human clinical trials by late next year.