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DNA Vaccination

Making the patients body produce the cancer antigens


In oncology, the purpose of DNA vaccines is to induce the production of cancer-specific antigens in the patient’s body. Specialized Antigen Presenting Cells (APCs) will then activate the appropriate immune response, allowing the patient’s immune system to target and destroy cancer cells. Invectys’ lead product, INVAC-1, uses this technology to induce an immune response to telomerase peptides.

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

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

A major breakthrough was achieved thanks to developments in DNA electroporation technology, which increased cell uptake of DNA a thousand fold, thus enhancing immunogenicity and effectiveness.

Invectys uses electroporation to intradermally inject INVAC-1 into the patient, and a needle-free injection system is also being evaluated.


INVAC mode of action:



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

When a DNA molecule slams into a fluidified cell membrane, the membrane cannot resist and the 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, increasing immune responses. This in turn reduces the dose needed to obtain a similar effect.

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