ImmunoCellular’s dendritic cell-based immunotherapy platform and its Stem-to-T-cell platform represent complementary approaches that lead to the same result: to kill the tumor by creating a population of antigen specific T cells that can specifically recognize and kill cancer cells as well as cancer stem cells.
Dendritic cell-based immunotherapy creates a dendritic cell outside of the patient’s body, using the patient’s own white blood cells which, when reintroduced into the patient’s body, are programmed to find the killer T cells and essentially teach them what to look for in the cancer and kill cancer cells.
In contrast, based on the technology in-licensed from The California Institute of Technology in 2014 ImmunoCellular’s Stem-to-T-cell program starts with hematopoietic stem cells, harvested from the patient, which are then engineered outside of the patient’s body such that when they are reintroduced, they divide into themselves, and into daughter cells which are antigen-specific killer T cells.
ImmunoCellular’s Stem-to-T-cell program is designed to harness the power of the immune system in highly directed and specific ways to engineer highly antigen-specific tumor killing. At the core of the Stem-to-T-cell technology is harvesting stem cells from cancer patients and then cloning into them T cell receptors that are specific for cancer cells. These engineered stem cells can then be reintroduced into the patient and are pre-programed to produce daughter cells that are antigen specific killer T cells that are capable of identifying, binding to, and killing cancer cells. Because stem cells are immortal, these reengineered stem cells could provide a natural and perpetual source of T cells that can target and destroy cancer cells in the patient.
An important component of the Stem-to-T-cell program is identification and selection of a T cell receptor that is capable of binding to tumor cells. It is this T cell receptor that will be transferred into the hematopoietic stem cell, and that allows the stem cell to produce cytotoxic T cells that can bind and kill tumor cells.