Activating and directing the immune system to unleash powerful and targeted attacks against cancer cells
PDS Biotechnology is developing potent off-the-shelf immunotherapies, based on its Versamune® platform, that are expected to activate and direct the human immune system to unleash a powerful and targeted attack against cancer cells.
PDS’s immunotherapy products are administered by subcutaneous injection (injection beneath the skin).
Immunotherapies are treatments that harness and activate the power of the immune system to fight disease.
Key obstacles faced in the successful development of effective cancer immunotherapies have been:
1. Difficulty of effectively presenting tumor antigens via the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) Class I pathway, leading to priming of tumor-recognizing CD8+ killer T-cells
2. Inability to concurrently stimulate the right immunological pathways to facilitate induction of critical chemokine and cytokines, resulting in powerful anti-tumor CD8+ T-cell responses;
3. Inability to overcome the tumor-immune suppression mechanisms to evade T-cell attack; and
4. The relatively high formulation and manufacturing complexities and related high costs.
We believe a successful cancer immunotherapy should deliver a strong T-cell response capable of overcoming the tumor immuno-suppressive environment, resulting in clinically beneficial anti-tumor immune responses.
At PDS, we are committed to developing more effective cancer immunotherapies. Our novel off-the-shelf immunotherapy products, based on PDS’s proprietary Versamune® platform, directly enable efficient initiation of multiple important immunological processes.
As a result of treatment with Versamune®-based products, we have demonstrated that the immune system is able to generate a strong attack specifically against cancer cells, while simultaneously “de-camouflaging” those same cancer cells, making them even more susceptible to attack.
Versamune®-based products present additional benefits of memory T-cell responses and safety, and are administered by a simple subcutaneous injection.
The human immune system is designed to protect the body by detecting foreign agents and destroying abnormal cells which may develop into cancer, while at the same time preventing attack against healthy cells. In certain cases, cancer cells may co-opt the body’s regulatory mechanisms that prevent attack against healthy cells, in order to suppress anti-cancer immune responses, or to “camouflage” itself in order to evade the immune system.
The ultimate goal of cancer immunotherapy is to overcome these mechanisms by which tumor cells are able to evade detection, and to simultaneously prime the immune system to unleash a strong attack against cancerous cells by effectively generating sufficient quantities of potent tumor-targeting killer T-cells.
The Versamune® platform has demonstrated, both in early human clinical trials and in multiple preclinical studies in multiple aggressive tumor models, the ability to activate multiple steps in the immune response pathway: priming and induction of tumor-recognizing CD8+ T-cells, activation and proliferation of CD8+ T-cells through stimulation of type I interferon genes, and altering the tumor microenvironment to limit the cancer cells’ ability to evade attack.
PDS Biotechnology’s Versamune® platform presents a potentially unique combination of potency and safety. We believe these characteristics of the Versamune®-based products may significantly improve the effectiveness and safety of cancer treatments.