Research Will Evaluate Immunological Mechanisms of Intratumoral DNA IL-12 Electroporation
SAN DIEGO--OncoSec Medical Inc. (OTCQB: ONCS), a company developing DNA-based intratumoral cancer immunotherapies, has entered a Sponsored Research Agreement (SRA) with the University of Washington to evaluate the immunologic mechanisms of intratumoral DNA IL-12 electroporation.
Dr. I. Nicholas Crispe, MBBS, PhD, a professor in the Department of Immunology at the University of Washington and an expert in liver immunology and tolerance, will serve as the principal investigator. Using a novel liver cell isolation approach, Dr. Crispe has demonstrated that different types of liver cells have the capacity to present antigens, which likely contributes to hepatic immunosuppressive mechanisms. In this SRA, Dr. Crispe will apply these techniques to the B16 melanoma tumor model to not only better understand the systemic mechanisms of intratumoral DNA IL-12 electroporation (ImmunoPulse), but also to potentially identify other molecular targets that might combine with IL-12 to enhance immune response.
Dr. Robert H. Pierce, Chief Scientific Officer of OncoSec Medical, said, "We are excited to embark on this project with Dr. Crispe, who has tremendous expertise in mechanisms of immune tolerance. We believe he will bring fresh insights into tumor immuno-biology from his extensive knowledge of mechanisms of pathogen-induced immuno-subversion."
Dr. Crispe said, "We are focusing on taking the insights we have learned from studies of the basic biology of immune tolerance, and translating them directly to a model of human cancer. Although our initial target is malignant melanoma, we believe it is likely that data from these studies will be directly applicable to other cancers."
Interleukin-12 (IL-12) is a potent inflammatory cytokine that regulates multiple aspects of the immune system; in particular, it initiates both innate and adaptive immune responses. IL-12 is a key driver of the cascade of biological events that ultimately lead to T-cell-specific killing of cancer cells. Moreover, cytokines and chemokines induced by this pathway also increase the recruitment of inflammatory T-cells into tumors.
ImmunoPulse is a proprietary investigational electroporation device that delivers plasmid IL-12 DNA directly into tumors. By locally delivering and expressing IL-12, ImmunoPulse has shown in clinical studies to elicit anti-tumor immune activity, which has led not only to local tumor regression, but also to systemic anti-tumor regression, while mitigating toxicities typically observed with systemic administration of IL-12. Preliminary interim data from OncoSec's ongoing Phase II study in melanoma provide evidence that local delivery of IL-12 by electroporation increases the production of cytokines such as IFN-γ, resulting in increased expression of genes related to the processes required for cytotoxic CD8+ T cells to recognize and kill cancer cells.
About OncoSec Medical
OncoSec Medical Inc. is a biopharmaceutical company developing its investigational ImmunoPulse intratumoral cancer immunotherapy. OncoSec Medical's core technology is designed to enhance the local delivery and uptake of DNA IL-12 and other DNA-based immune-targeting agents. Clinical studies of ImmunoPulse have demonstrated an acceptable safety profile and preliminary evidence of anti-tumor activity in the treatment of various skin cancers, as well as the potential to initiate a systemic immune response without the systemic toxicities associated with other treatments. OncoSec's lead program evaluating ImmunoPulse for the treatment of metastatic melanoma is currently in Phase 2 development, and is being conducted in collaboration with several prominent academic medical centers. As the company continues to evaluate ImmunoPulse in its current indications, it is also focused on identifying and developing new immune-targeting agents, investigating additional tumor indications, and evaluating combination-based immunotherapy approaches. For more information, please visitwww.oncosec.com.