Monoclonal antibodies represent a significant advance in cancer immunology over the past 20 years and antibody-based therapeutics now constitute a significant and growing portion of pharmaceutical sales.
Our previous trials evaluating OncoVAX® demonstrated that immunized patients, while mounting a robust and tumoricidal cytotoxic T-cell response, also produced circulating B-cells which produced tumor-specific, human monoclonal antibodies (HuMabs).
B-cells are a specialized type of blood cell that make antibodies against a variety of substances found in the body. When an antibody binds its highly specialized target, it effectively serves as a tag which marks that object for destruction by the immune system. B-cells also retain the ability to expand and make more antibodies if the body is challenged by the same foreign object again. Generating HuMabs from patient-derived B-cells greatly increases the safety profile of these agents when used as therapeutics, diagnostics or vaccines; antibodies generated in mice have an increased risk of stimulating an immune response against these agents, thus decreasing the potency of the treatment. Combined with our legacy HuMabs from previous OncoVAX® studies, we intend to collect these rare B-cells generated from OncoVAX®-treated patients in our upcoming trial (ACTIVE) for further cancer-specific studies. These in-house investigations with allow us to potentially license with strategic partnerships to create new research tools, therapeutics, diagnostics, and preventative vaccines.