Our technology platform builds on the existing science of immunotherapy for cancer, a fast-growing field with increasing recognition across the globe. Science, one of the two prestigious journals in the world, has recently rated immunotherapy as the top scientific breakthrough in 2013. Nature, the other top prestigious journal in the world, came out with a special Outlook issue on Cancer Immunotherapy in Dec 2013. The number of new clinical studies in this area jumped more than ten-fold over twenty years (from 3 in 1993 to 36 in 2013). As of now, more than four hundred clinical studies are on-going at present (the numbers are from issue of Nature Outlook on Cancer Immunotherapy, December 2013).
Immunotherapy marks an entirely different way of treating cancer—by targeting the immune system, not the tumour itself. It is based on strengthening the immune system and training the components of immune system to fight cancer. Since, the immune system is inherently stronger in younger patients, we believe that it would be more beneficial in younger patients – the kind India has.
We have developed four different modalities: (a) activated dendritic cells, (b) expanded NK cells, (c) expanded γδ T cells, and (d) primed T cells.
The activated dendritic cell-based immunotherapy is the most important of these four modalities. The technology is based on monocyte-derived dendritic cells, which are the most potent and the most common antigen presenting cells in our body. The dendritic cells can be educated to stimulate the immune response in the laboratory. There is strong evidence and scientific data behind these applications of dendritic cells, and its discovery was recognized with a Nobel Prize in 2011.
With our technology, monocytes are isolated from the blood of patients and then differentiated in to immature dendritic cells using appropriate cytokines and growth factors in our laboratory. The immature dendritic cells are then matured and made immune-stimulatory by exposing them to cancer antigens in presence of activation signals. These dendritic cells, which have been manipulated in our laboratory, are then injected back into the same patient (autologous mode).
The other three modalities (expanded NK and γδ T cells, Primed T cells) are also generated ex vivo from the PBMC of patients. NK and γδ T cells are expanded about 100-fold and injected into the patient. T cells in the PBMC are primed by exposing them to the dendritic cells. These cells are also given back to the same patient (autologous mode).
We have applied for patent for our proprietary cellular immunotherapy technology.