Harnessing the patient’s own immune system to control metastatic disease has become a recent and exciting approach in cancer therapy, particularly inhibitors of programmed cell death, such as PD-1. The approval of two such agents, as well as an antibody that inhibits T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA4), has spurred interest in their combination with other therapies in order to achieve a synergism, whereby superior effects are achieved. We have begun to develop our own PD-1 antibody to evaluate its use in combination with our other anticancer agents, such as the antibody-drug conjugates sacituzumab govitecan and labetuzumab govitecan, in preclinical studies.

Another immunotherapy of current interest is utilizing chimeric antigen receptors (CARs) to direct T cells or natural killer cells. The engineering of chimeric antigen receptors on the surface of such cells combines the potent functions of the effector cells with the tumor-targeting properties of the antibodies. To-date, clinical results using CAR-redirected immunotherapy have appeared to be more successful in liquid (hematological) tumors than in solid cancers. Using our own genetic engineering technology, our scientists have begun work on a more universal approach to direct effector cells to a variety of cancer types by a next-generation targeting model. Preclinical studies are in progress while patents to protect the intellectual property are being prosecuted.

Finally, as described in the DOCK-AND-LOCK® platform technology section, we are developing an investigational T-cell redirected bispecific antibody that takes advantage of our TROP-2 antibody targeting, and has shown biological activity in our preclinical animal studies. We have now begun work to develop the constructs needed for translation into candidates for human clinical trials.

Immunomedics - Physicians