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A DNA vaccine targeting telomerase

INVAC-1 is a DNA vaccine targeting telomerase

Immunization with DNA as a source of antigen is a technology with many advantages compared to conventional approaches. The antigen is produced by the cell and presented by both MHC class I and II molecules to generate cell-mediated and humoral immune responses. DNA-based products are easy to produce, stable over time and very cost effective.

Early studies on DNA vaccination showed poor immunogenicity due to low levels of transfer into cells, so limiting their use for human trials.

INVAC mode of action:

capture-invac-1

The real breakthrough was a development in DNA electroporation technology that increased cell uptake of DNA by a thousand fold, so enhancing immunogenicity and effectiveness.

When a DNA molecule slams into a fluidified cell membrane, the membrane cannot resist and DNA forces its way inside the cell ending up in the nucleus. Following gene expression by  the cell, fragments of telomerase protein are presented by MHC class I and II pathways ending up in the induction of specific CD4 and CD8 T cell immune responses.

Electroporation, also known as electrogenetransfer, can itself enhance the immune response. The natural pro-inflammatory effect of this technology increases the recruitment of antigen presenting cells and dendritic cells at the site of injection, so increasing immune responses which in turn reduces of the dose needed.

The electroporation device used by Invectys is currently used in more than 110 clinical centers across Europe.