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UCPVax : a UCP Vaccine enhancing CD4+ response

Using specific cancer markers to turn “cold” tumors “hot”

Cells will express on their surface short protein fragments – peptides – corresponding to proteins that are active within them. Cancer cells are no exception and express peptides, recognizable by the immune system, of the telomerase enzyme. These peptides serve as antigens for Invectys’ UCPVax.
UCPVax stands for Universal Cancer Peptide Vaccine, a therapeutic vaccine with potential applications in a broad range of cancer indications.

UCPVax is currently in Phase II in Metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer.

Telomerase peptides are expressed virtually only on the surface of cancer cells, making them a clear-cut target. UCPVax is a vaccine based on these peptides, with the objective of triggering an immune response against them. In fine, the immune system will recognize tumor cells as targets and create an adaptive response against them.

More specifically, this vaccine uses 2 different peptides to trigger the activation of CD4+ T-Helper cells (in this case, T-Helper 1 cells, or TH1) specific to these peptides. These cells act as coordinators and regulators of the adaptive immune response. Through the production of chemical messengers such as IFN-γ and TNFα, the T-Helpers stimulate the growth and Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes (CTLs).
UCPVax has been shown to induce strong TH1 CD4 T Cell response, which was associated with increased CTL response.

UCPVax is currently undergoing Clinical Trials for metastatic NSCLC (Phase I/II) (as a standalone), advanced NSCLC (Phase II) (in combination with Nivolumab),  Glioblastoma (Phase I/II), and for the treatment of HPV+ Cancers (Phase II) (in combination with Atezolizumab)

Pre-clinical results

UCPVax has demonstrated encouraging results in in vitro and in vivo preclinical studies:

  • Proliferation of CD4+ Th1 cells and production of Th1 cytokines (IL-2, IFN-γ, TNFα)
  • Specificity of the immune response confirmed
  • Increased tumor-specific CD8+ T-Cell response against the UCP used
  • Activation of dendritic cells
  • Safety: no significant vaccine-related toxicity

UCPVax has also demonstrated, in early clinical results, a 70% responder immune response, as well as a significant increase in Progression-Free Survival (PFS) and Overall Survival (OS).

Research and results were published in Clinical Cancer Research, Oncoimmunology and the Journal of Immunology.

 

A glossary is available for technical definitions.