Active Cellular immunotherapy

The knowledge that dendritic cells play a central role in initiating the human body’s immune response and the capability of producing them in vitro in large quantities have led researchers to consider using them in cancer immunotherapy.

SOTIO’s process involves a personalized preparation of the drug, tailored to a specific patient. Tumor cells (from cancer cell lines) killed by High Hydrostatic Pressure (HHP), physical modality inducing immunogenic cell death, are used as the source of broad range of tumor antigens. These are then incubated with dendritic cells cultivated from the patient’s blood monocytes. Apoptotic tumor cells are engulfed by immature dendritic cells are subsequently activated. Mature DCs present tumor antigens and are reintroduced into the patient’s body in the form of immunotherapeutic vaccine to trigger the required response from the patient’s immune system against the harmful tumor cells.

In line with both expert theoretical assumptions and experimental data, cancer immunotherapy solely on its own has the greatest chance of success if applied to patients at the early stages of the disease, or to patients following a radical surgical intervention when a large amount of the tumor tissue has been removed.

In advanced stages of the disease, cancer immunotherapy needs to be combined with other therapies. For example, it has been shown that immunotherapy and chemotherapy need not be mutually exclusive, but that a suitable combination of both can have a positive effect. One of the reasons for this is thought to be the fact that chemotherapy reduces the level of T-regulatory lymphocytes, which support tumor growth because they actively suppress the anti-tumor immune response.

The immunotherapy treatment pursued by SOTIO is focused on combining immunotherapy with chemotherapy and other standard therapies with a view to boosting the efficiency of its drug.

The strategy of active cellular immunotherapy being developed by SOTIO’s research team has a number of advantages compared to similar drugs:

  • The drug treatment contains only living dendritic cells, which SOTIO cultivates from white blood cells from blood samples taken for leukapheresis.
  • SOTIO’s proprietary ACI-MAP (Active Cellular Immunotherapy Multiple Antigen Presentation) technology leverages a method of inducing an immunogenic death of whole tumor cells in the production process. This enables efficient pulsing of patient’s DCs with a broad range of tumor antigens. DCs pulsed with tumor cells killed by High Hydrostatic Pressure (‘HHP’) by immunogenic cell death have an increased ability to induce cytotoxic T cell responses, reducing the expansion of T regulatory cells when tested in vitro. This increases the probability of inducing efficient immune response in vivo.
  • The improved manufacturing process and the facilities for storing deeply-frozen living cells help to obtain up to 15 doses of the drug from a single blood sample taken for leukapheresis.
  • Long-term boosting of the immune response (for over one year) calls for repeated stimulation of the patient’s immune system to react against tumor cells.
  • The concept of Combination therapy (i.e. with standard chemotherapy) is based on the understanding that cancer in advanced stages requires multiple treatments to be orchestrated in a synergized way in order to control the progression of the disease.
  • The easy application of the drug by subcutaneous injection is generally more pleasant for patients.

Scientific findings in the field of prostate and ovarian cancer immunology, published by SOTIO’s researchers in many scientific publications (List of Publications), are being applied in the currently running Phase II and III clinical trials for prostate carcinoma therapy, and in a Phase II clinical trial for ovarian cancer therapy. Recently, the scientific team has begun pursuing a preclinical study of lung carcinoma, and arranging protocols for treatment of the disease.

SOTIO’s research team is also participating in treatment success rate monitoring in individual clinical trials. Using the latest detection methods of molecular biology and cancer immunology, the team is studying the immune response of individual patients to antineoplastic therapy. The data gathered, which are also being published, are valuable in verifying therapeutic effectiveness in patients.

Active cellular immunotherapy of cancer using dendritic cells

SOTIO’s research has recently focused also on development of new medicinal products designed to treat autoimmune disease. 

  • An autoimmune disease arises from an adverse and inadequate response of the immune system against substances normally present in the body. The spectrum of autoimmune diseases is broad, and they are characterized by an autoimmune response leading to damage of body tissues. One of the autoimmune diseases whose incidence rate has risen recently is type 1 diabetes. SOTIO’s research aims to establish a method to result in specific weakening of autoimmune response, ideally with no adverse effects. The model autoimmune disease for the method in development is type 1 diabetes mellitus.

The results discovered by our scientific research team are regularly published in leading scientific journals with impact factor (IF) (List of Publications) and presented at prestigious scientific and medical conferences. The research team works in collaboration with some leading research centers studying cancer immunology, cell apoptosis, immunogenic cell death, and autoimmunity issues. Among these prominent research centers are:

  • Centre de Recherche des Cordeliers, Paris, Laboratory of Tumor Microenvironment, Prof. Catherine Sautes Fridman, Ph.D. and Prof. Herve Fridman, Ph.D.
  • INSERM U892 Centre de Recherche en Cancérologie, Laboratory of Apoptosis and Tumor Progression, Nantes, Dr. Pierre Francois Cartron
  • University of Leuven, Belgium, Laboratory of Cell Death Research & Therapy, Prof. Patrizia Agostinis, Ph.D., Dr. Abhishek Garg, Ph.D.
  • Rigshospitalet Department, Laboratory of Pathogenesis of Type 1 Diabetes, Prof. Karsten Buschhard
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