Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has announced its newest DNA-based cancer immunotherapy targeting melanoma induced a robust and broad immune response in animals and directed cancer-killing T cells against tumors. These results further demonstrate the power and utility of Inovio’s synthetic DNA-based immunotherapy platform focused on cancers and challenging infectious diseases.
In this study, Inovio developed a synthetic DNA immunotherapy encoding the tyrosinase gene which is highly expressed in nearly 80% of melanoma tumor cells. Researchers found in mice that the tyrosinase-targeting DNA immunotherapy was very effective in infiltrating the tumor site, where it prevented tumors, controlled tumor growth, and changed the tumor micro-environment by “turning off” cells that suppress T-cell activity. Inovio’s therapy also increased survival in melanoma-challenged mice versus a control group.
Study results appear in the online issue of the journal Cancer Gene Therapy in an article authored by Inovio researchers and their collaborators, entitled: “Novel and enhanced anti-melanoma DNA vaccine targeting the tyrosinase protein inhibits myeloid derived suppressor cells (MDSC) and tumor growth in a syngeneic prophylactic and therapeutic murine model.”
Dr. J. Joseph Kim, President and CEO, said, “Our active immunotherapy technology provides DNA code for one or more pertinent cancer or infectious disease antigens, enabling the body to produce sufficient antigen to trigger a robust, targeted disease-fighting immune response. This unique approach is simple yet powerful. With positive phase II efficacy data already reported from our lead program for HPV pre-cancers and cancers this past summer and two additional cancer immunotherapies (INO-1400 and INO-5150) approaching their first human study, we continue to add cancer-specific antigens that can be used alone or combined into active immunotherapies for essentially every cancer. We are pleased to add melanoma to our cancer pipeline, which already includes products targeting cervical, head and neck, prostate, breast, lung, and pancreatic cancers.”
Skin cancer is one of the most common types of cancers diagnosed in the United States, with an estimated 2 million new cases annually. Melanoma is the most deadly type of skin cancer, leading to 75% of all skin cancer related deaths due to systemic metastatic spread. Of the 76,000 new Melanoma diagnoses estimated to occur in 2014, approximately 12% will have progressed to stage III or IV melanoma already with a 5-year survival rate of only 15%. Even today, treatment options for melanoma remain limited.
Novel and enhanced anti-melanoma DNA vaccine targeting the tyrosinase protein inhibits myeloid-derived suppressor cells and tumor growth in a syngeneic prophylactic and therapeutic murine model, J Yan, C Tingey, R Lyde, T C Gorham, D K Choo, A Muthumani, D Myles, L P Weiner, K A Kraynyak, E L Reuschel, T H Finkel, J J Kim, N Y Sardesai, K E Ugen, K Muthumani and D B Weiner, Cancer Gene Therapy, doi:10.1038/cgt.2014.56, published 14 November 2014.
Source: Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc.