Despite the Covid-19 crisis, myNEO has been fully operational and has been focusing on the preparation for the clinical trial of Persomed later this year. The goal of this Persomed joint venture (involving myNEO, QbD, Antleron and VUB) is to develop a cost- and time-efficient personalised colon cancer vaccine that can be deployed on a large scale. The clinical validation of the myNEO platform and its predicted neoantigens will mark an important milestone.
Since our sequencing partner has remained active during the pandemic, it has allowed us to continue anaysing patient materials. We've sequenced several sets of normal and tumour cells over the past weeks and used these test cases to optimise several steps of the sample- and workflow for the clinial trial later this year.
Normal cells become cancer cells through an accumulation of mutations in the genome. These mutations are very cancer-specific and differ from patient to patient showing that treatments that aim for ‘one size fits all’ is likely not going to be the answer. Identification and isolation of these patient-specific epitopes for targeted treatment is considered to be very promising as this will lead to activation of the immune system of the patient specifically against these epitopes.
The analysis of the tumour will be performed for each patient separately by myNEO and the selected patient-specific epitopes will be formulated into a vaccine by the LMCT lab of the VUB. This will involve reprogramming the patient’s blood cells in the laboratory into powerful immune-activating dendritic cells that will then be administered back to the patient. The immune-activating dendritic cells – created on the basis of the individual genetic mutations – will in turn stimulate the immune system just like a vaccine does.
In addition, Persomed will put particular focus in further developing and refining dendritic cell therapy into an effective, safe and affordable vaccine produced via a standardised method for each individual patient. This is where the joint expertise of QbD and Antleron will be used to develop a scalable and cost-efficient manufacturing process. This will allow Persomed to expand this standardised vaccine manufacturing method towards use in other solid malignancies as well.
The consortium has received a government VLAIO grant from minister Crevits of more than 2.1M€ and the goal is to have a fully operational vaccine by 2024.
The coming years, three important milestones will be reached:
- 2021: a proof-of-concept and phase 1 clinical study for at least eight patients
- 2022: we’ll conduct the therapy on a larger group of selected patients
- 2024: the colon cancer vaccine will be ready for applying for official broad use registration
For more information, go to the Persomed website.