Cancer Research UK has teamed up with the University of Southampton and Touchlight Genetics, a London based biotechnology company to reveal a new clinical development partnership to advance a therapeutic DNA vaccine, TGL-100, into an early phase clinical trial targeting head and neck squamous cell carcinoma (HNSCC).
Professor Christian Ottensmeier, Chief Clinical Investigator at the University of Southampton said: “We expect that this trial will deliver fundamental insights into how we can use cancer vaccines in the most optimal way so we can boost survival for people with head and neck cancer.”
HNSCC is the UK’s eighth most common cancer, but treatment options are limited and around 4,000 of those affected in the UK die each year.
Whilst existing immunotherapies have a huge impact for a small number of cancer patients, it is hoped that targeted cancer vaccines could extend this benefit to many more people.
DNA cancer vaccines encode antigens from cancer cells that prime the immune system, waking up immune cells that can tackle cancer.
The newly designed DNA vaccine combines potent cancer antigens with Touchlight Genetics’ novel DNA vector – Doggybone DNA (dbDNA).
TGL-100 encodes two antigens overexpressed in HNSCC to induce an antigen-specific anti-tumour immune response in the body
Jonny Ohlson, CEO of Touchlight Genetics said: “Partnering with Cancer Research UK will provide the regulatory know-how, clinical expertise and operational capability to help translate this potentially transformative class of personalised therapies into patient benefit.”
The proposed clinical trial will test a new combination strategy of vaccination alongside a currently available PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor. This combination could markedly improve a HNSCC patient’s response to the checkpoint inhibitor and could lead to patients living longer.
Professor Christian Ottensmeier, Chief Clinical Investigator at the University of Southampton, said: “We expect that this trial will deliver fundamental insights into how we can use cancer vaccines in the most optimal way so we can boost survival for people with head and neck cancer.”