CVac™CVac therapy is a personalized immunocellular therapeutic under investigation for the treatment of epithelial ovarian cancer. The CVac™ treatment is a targeted cancer immunocellular therapeutic that stimulates the patient‘s own immune system to target and destroy tumors.
The treatment is manufactured and customized for each patient. The patient‘s own immune precursors are isolated from their blood by a process called leukapheresis. The patient’s blood is circulated through a special filter that takes out only the cells needed to produce CVac. These cells are matured in the laboratory and treated with a tumor-specific cell surface protein called mucin 1. The unique form of mucin 1 is present in great amounts on epithelial ovarian tumors. The dendritic cells process the mucin 1 antigen and are then frozen for later shipment to the physician for administration to the patient. At the clinic, the CVac is thawed and injected intradermally (just under the surface of the skin). The CVac then moves through the patient’s blood stream, and as CVac comes in contact withimmune cells (T cells), it activates them to recognize and subsequently destroy tumour cells producing the tumor form of mucin 1 protein.
CVac™ is a cancer treatment consisting of mannan as a carrier, attached to a tumor-specific cell surface protein, mucin 1, and autologous dendritic cells.
CVac™ is being investigated for epithelial ovarian cancer patients in remission, with the aim of extending their disease remission or overall survival.
Mode of ActionDendritic cells are a subset of white blood cells whose primary role is to educate the immune system to recognize foreign proteins, in the case of CVac, the dendritic cells educate the immune system to detect and destroy a cancer protein. In the body, when the dendritic cell encounters foreign material it generates a recognition signal on its cell surface and when it comes into contact with T cells triggers the T cells to respond and kill the foreign material. In CVac, the manufacturing process exposes the dendritic cell to a unique cancer protein so that when the CVac is administered back into the patient, the natural process for the dendritic cell to interact and stimulate T cells occurs.
Processing the dendritic cells outside of the patient’s own body may allow the cells to overcome the evasive mechanisms of the tumor by educating the body’s own immune system to fight the tumor.
The tumor antigen being targeted is a modified mucin 1. Mucin 1 is expressed by normal tissue in the body but has different (modified) characteristics on tumor cells so the immune response will be specific to the tumor tissue.
Interestingly, this is a molecule expressed by a variety of tumors including breast, ovarian, prostate, renal, pancreatic, lung, and colon cancers. CVac is currently being investigated to treat ovarian cancer patients, but there is an opportunity to evaluate CVac on other indications.
Immunotherapy provides a unique therapy modality. By targeting a protein that exists only on tumor cells, it leaves normal tissues intact and has an excellent safety profile; side effects are minimal. This stands in stark contrast to chemotherapies with broader killing spectrums. With CVac, the body’s own immune system is stimulated as the dendritic cells will activate T cells to find the mucin 1 on tumors and destroy the tumor cells.