Experimental and clinical studies have revealed that recently-developed cancer immunotherapies are capable of inducing durable anti-tumor responses in some individuals. However, many cancer patients remain unresponsive to standard-of-care immunotherapies. Igenica is developing novel antibody-based approaches that can benefit these unresponsive cancer patiens.
A key aspect of the immune system is its ability to identify, seek out, and destroy abnormal cells. However, cancer cells have derived mechanisms to escape immune destruction by inducing expression of inhibitory signals that “turn off” the capacity of white blood cells to perform their protective functions. Whereas most immunotherapies today are focused on blocking the inhibitory molecules expressed on a specific type of white blood cell (T cells) in cancer patients, recent findings have shown that additional inhibitory molecules are expressed by other cells in the tumor microenvironment and cooperate with those on T cells to produce a deeper and more powerful suppression of anti-tumor activity. Igenica’s approach is centered on using novel monoclonal antibodies to neutralize these additional immunosuppressive signals and thereby more effectively eliminate the suppressive forces that interfere with immune rejection of growing tumors.