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Inovio Pharmaceuticals' Potent hTERT DNA Cancer Vaccine Shows Potential to Reduce Tumors and Prevent Tumor Recurrence
Date:7/24/2013

t hTERT is present in the vast majority of cancer types yet rare in normal cells. We plan to develop INO-1400 to treat breast and lung cancers and then expand to other cancer types. This hTERT therapy adds to a growing Inovio oncology franchise spearheaded by our phase II candidate, VGX-3100 for treating HPV-related pre-cancers and cancers, as well as our near clinical INO-5150 to treat prostate cancer."  

Data from both murine and human systems over the past 10 years have demonstrated that TERT-specific cytotoxic T-lymphocytes (CTLs) can recognize and kill TERT-expressing tumor cells in multiple types of cancers. In fact, previous research has shown that breast cancer patients who mounted an hTERT-specific CTL response exhibited significantly longer rates of survival. However, the immune system's tolerance of cancer cells and their associated antigens produced in the body, which exists to prevent autoimmune diseases, often restricts the immune system's antitumor response. A major challenge for cancer vaccine development has been to develop approaches to break this tolerance in tumor-bearing hosts. Recent advances in our understanding of antigen presentation and tolerance have led Inovio to create this synthetic DNA vaccine targeting the hTERT antigen.

Inovio constructed a highly optimized synthetic DNA vaccine with multiple proprietary features. Using its novel consensus design approach, two differentiating mutations were incorporated in the vaccine sequence to assist T-cells to more readily recognize self-made hTERT antigens and kill the cancer cells to which these antigens are attached (i.e. break tolerance). In addition, Inovio's use of a full length antigen DNA sequence encompasses multiple epitopes (parts of an antigen that are recognized by the immune system), potentially helping the immune system by providing multiple opportunities to overcome a tumor's ability to e
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SOURCE Inovio Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
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