• For the first time, evidence suggests the same vaccine formulation (RNAdjuvant®) may elicit similar potency in both cancer patients and healthy subjects
  • RNAdjuvant® found to induce IFNgamma release from PBMCs; critical for innate and adaptive immunity including Th1 type T-cell responses

TÜBINGEN, Germany – December 5, 2016

CureVac AG today announced that a study with its RNAdjuvant® technology was published in the peer-reviewed journal Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy. The study, titled “Immunological effects of a novel RNA-based adjuvant in liver cancer patients,” by Circelli et al., demonstrated for the first time ever that the company’s RNAdjuvant® to be used in a therapeutic cancer vaccine formulation is equally effective on peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from both healthy and hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients. The data were collected in connection with the HEPAVAC project, which is sponsored by the EU.

The study examined the effects of CureVac’s RNAdjuvant® technology on PBMCs obtained from eight healthy volunteers and 17 HCC patients, using a multiparametric approach to analyze network dynamics of early immune responses. Treatment with RNAdjuvant® elicited comparable effects on PBMCs of both HCC and healthy subjects, having demonstrated up-regulation of several genes involved in innate and adaptive immune-related pathways.

Luigi Buonaguro, head of the HEPAVAC project, said, “The comparable immunomodulatory effects of RNAdjuvant® in HCC subjects and healthy subjects are extremely relevant in the field of vaccinology, in general, and for the HEPAVAC project, in specific. They strongly support the use of RNAdjuvant® in the HepaVac-101 vaccine formulation and are promising for a significant enhancement of the immunogenicity of the vaccine peptides in vivo. We are really excited about these results.”

Ulrike Gnad-Vogt, M.D., CMO of CureVac, stated, “We are extremely pleased about these results and believe they strongly support the phase I/II trial in hepatocellular cancer patients planned by the HEPAVAC consortium. We have previously shown that RNAdjuvant is able to enhance virus neutralizing antibody responses against a licensed rabies vaccine in healthy adults. We now hope to see an induction of potent T cell responses in combination with the HepaVac-101 vaccine in patients with hepatocellular cancer and to contribute to an improved outcome.

The article of Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy can be found here. 

About Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy

Since its inception in 1976, Cancer Immunology, Immunotherapy (CII) has reported significant advances in the field of tumor immunology. The journal serves as a forum for new concepts and advances in basic, translational and clinical cancer immunology and immunotherapy. CII is keen to publish broad-ranging ideas and reviews, results which extend or challenge established paradigms, as well as negative studies which fail to reproduce experiments that support current paradigms, and papers that do succeed in reproducing others’ results in different contexts.

About the HEPAVAC project

HEPAVAC aims to develop a highly innovative, novel cancer vaccine approach to address the high unmet medical need of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients. HCC is the most common primary liver malignancy accounting for about 6% of all new cancer cases diagnosed worldwide (nearly 750,000 new cases/year), and is the third and the fifth leading cause of death from cancer globally in men and women, respectively. Given the current lack of available effective treatments, the overall prognosis for patients with HCC is poor with a dismal 5-year survival rate of approximately 5-6%, making the disease a highly important and relevant target for the development of innovative and novel therapies. In this framework, immunotherapeutic interventions, including cancer vaccines, may represent a novel and effective therapeutic tool.

For more information, please visit www.hepavac.eu.

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