Antigen Express Announces Phase I SBIR Grant for Development of MHC Class II Enhanced Prostate Cancer Cell Vaccine

Apr 05, 2001, 01:00 ET from Antigen Express, Inc.

    WORCESTER, Mass., April 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Antigen Express, Inc. (AgExp)
 today announced that it has received a $192,000 Small Business Innovative
 Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to support
 development of a novel prostate cancer cell vaccine based on the modulation of
 MHC Class II molecule expression.  This method is also being applied in the
 development of direct intra-tumoral therapies, DNA vaccines, and dendritic
 cell based therapeutics.
     Antigen Express researchers have shown that cancer cells expressing MHC
 Class II molecules can serve as potent vaccines for the treatment of cancer
 when the Ii (Invariant Chain) immunoregulatory protein is suppressed.
 However, not all tumors express MHC Class II antigens.  Many advanced prostate
 cancers do not express MHC Class II.  Using a highly aggressive metastasizing
 prostate cancer cell line, Antigen Express researchers aim to first induce MHC
 Class II and suppress Ii protein expression in the ex-vivo preparation of the
 murine prostate cancer cells.  These cells will be assessed in pre-clinical
 trials that will support the initiation of clinical studies.
     The Antigen Express strategies together with other known methods of
 improving immunological responses to tumor antigens including concomitant use
 of immunocytokines (i.e., GM-CSF and IL-2), will be used by Malcolm Mitchell,
 MD, Gilda G. Hillman, Ph.D, and Jeffrey Forman, MD, Wayne State University
 faculty members at the Karmanos Cancer Institute.
     Research over the past several years has demonstrated the importance of
 helper T-cells in mounting a potent cell mediated immune response against
 cancer.  For activation, helper T-cells require MHC Class II presented
 antigens.  Activated T-helper cells "license" dendritic cells, professional
 antigen presenting cells, which, in turn, stimulate cytotoxic T-cells to
 attack and destroy cancer.  Ii Suppression allows tumor cells to express their
 antigens on MHC Class II molecules, thereby permitting the presentation of
 novel antigens to T-cells resulting in a robust immune response.  When
 dendritic cells themselves are used as the platform for therapeutic
 vaccination (i.e., cancer cell/dendritic cell fusions or dendritic cells
 transfected with tumor antigens), Ii suppression of dendritic cells leads to
 the presentation of novel tumor antigens along with co-stimulatory molecules
 expressed by dendritic cells.  Antigen Express researchers are investigating
 the use of these combined approaches.
     Antigen Express is a private biotechnology company that is developing a
 range of therapeutics for the treatment of cancer, autoimmune, infectious, and
 allergic diseases.  The proprietary technology platforms are centered on MHC
 Class II antigen presentation and processing, the first step in the immune
 response.  The Antigen Express technology focuses on the T-helper system,
 which is central to cell mediated immunity.
 
     CONTACT:  Joseph V. Gulfo, MD for Antigen Express, Inc., 610-205-0100,
 jvgulfo@ix.netcom.com
 
 

SOURCE Antigen Express, Inc.
    WORCESTER, Mass., April 5 /PRNewswire/ -- Antigen Express, Inc. (AgExp)
 today announced that it has received a $192,000 Small Business Innovative
 Research (SBIR) grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), to support
 development of a novel prostate cancer cell vaccine based on the modulation of
 MHC Class II molecule expression.  This method is also being applied in the
 development of direct intra-tumoral therapies, DNA vaccines, and dendritic
 cell based therapeutics.
     Antigen Express researchers have shown that cancer cells expressing MHC
 Class II molecules can serve as potent vaccines for the treatment of cancer
 when the Ii (Invariant Chain) immunoregulatory protein is suppressed.
 However, not all tumors express MHC Class II antigens.  Many advanced prostate
 cancers do not express MHC Class II.  Using a highly aggressive metastasizing
 prostate cancer cell line, Antigen Express researchers aim to first induce MHC
 Class II and suppress Ii protein expression in the ex-vivo preparation of the
 murine prostate cancer cells.  These cells will be assessed in pre-clinical
 trials that will support the initiation of clinical studies.
     The Antigen Express strategies together with other known methods of
 improving immunological responses to tumor antigens including concomitant use
 of immunocytokines (i.e., GM-CSF and IL-2), will be used by Malcolm Mitchell,
 MD, Gilda G. Hillman, Ph.D, and Jeffrey Forman, MD, Wayne State University
 faculty members at the Karmanos Cancer Institute.
     Research over the past several years has demonstrated the importance of
 helper T-cells in mounting a potent cell mediated immune response against
 cancer.  For activation, helper T-cells require MHC Class II presented
 antigens.  Activated T-helper cells "license" dendritic cells, professional
 antigen presenting cells, which, in turn, stimulate cytotoxic T-cells to
 attack and destroy cancer.  Ii Suppression allows tumor cells to express their
 antigens on MHC Class II molecules, thereby permitting the presentation of
 novel antigens to T-cells resulting in a robust immune response.  When
 dendritic cells themselves are used as the platform for therapeutic
 vaccination (i.e., cancer cell/dendritic cell fusions or dendritic cells
 transfected with tumor antigens), Ii suppression of dendritic cells leads to
 the presentation of novel tumor antigens along with co-stimulatory molecules
 expressed by dendritic cells.  Antigen Express researchers are investigating
 the use of these combined approaches.
     Antigen Express is a private biotechnology company that is developing a
 range of therapeutics for the treatment of cancer, autoimmune, infectious, and
 allergic diseases.  The proprietary technology platforms are centered on MHC
 Class II antigen presentation and processing, the first step in the immune
 response.  The Antigen Express technology focuses on the T-helper system,
 which is central to cell mediated immunity.
 
     CONTACT:  Joseph V. Gulfo, MD for Antigen Express, Inc., 610-205-0100,
 jvgulfo@ix.netcom.com
 
 SOURCE  Antigen Express, Inc.