ImmunoCellular is developing autologous, dendritic cell (DC)-based immunotherapeutic products for the treatment of cancer. DCs are cells responsible for processing and presenting antigens to the immune system. They play a central role in the body's immune response to cancer and other proliferative diseases. These DC-based immunotherapeutics are manufactured from the patients’ own cells to minimize safety risk following therapeutic administration. ImmunoCellular’s products share the following characteristics to achieve improved therapeutic effects:
- Targeting of multiple tumor-associated antigens
- Targeting multiple antigens increases the probability of effective treatment, by blocking tumor escape mechanisms associated with single antigen targeting.
- Targeting of cancer stem cells
- Cancer stem cells (CSCs), a small subset (5%) of cancer cells, are believed to be responsible for the initiation and propagation of tumors. CSCs are resistant to radiation and chemotherapy and can self-renew. Therefore CSCs may cause cancer to recur even after the rest of the tumor has been removed or destroyed. Eradicating CSCs is critical to effective, durable treatment.
- Triggering a potent immune response
- Activated DCs, produced from each patient’s own cells, can stimulate a highly potent anti-tumor immune response.
The immune system consists of many different cell types, each of which plays a distinctive role. DCs are responsible for recognizing antigens associated with abnormal cells, such as cancer cells, or foreign invaders. After processing these antigens, DCs present antigen fragments to the patient’s killer T cells to guide their killing action. T cells are key to mounting an effective immune response and destroying cancer cells.
Cancer may suppress the immune response, making DCs unable to process and present antigens to T cells. ImmunoCellular’s proprietary platform generates large numbers of DCs specifically activated against cancer antigens. When injected as anti-tumor agents, these DCs, manufactured in large numbers outside the body, can overcome the patient’s immune suppression.