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Apr 6, 2012

Advaxis Taps Karolinska Researcher to Test Immunotherapies Against Allergies

  • Advaxis inked a research collaboration to evaluate its immunotherapies against allergies with Marianne van Hage, M.D., Ph.D., research group leader, head of the clinical immunology and allergy unit, and vice head of the department of medicine, at Karolinska Institutet.

    Dr. van Hage’s research is focused on further understanding the molecular mechanisms of underlying allergic disease and the function of allergens. Her team aims to develop diagnostic markers and strategies for vaccination. Her work using cat allergy as a model system has reportedly resulted in insights that can be used to develop treatments and prevention options for allergic responses.

    Dr. van Hage will be using Advaxis immunotherapies to develop allergy treatments using the models she and her team have developed. If successful, this work may be applied to other allergic diseases. “We are very excited about the collaboration with Advaxis and hope to develop an efficient and safe vaccine for cat allergy, which could lead to other allergy treatments in the future,” says Dr. Marianne van Hage.

    Advaxis has been developing vaccines for cancer. Its immunotherapies are based on a platform that utilizes live, attenuated Listeria monocytogenes (Lm) bioengineered to secrete an antigen/adjuvant fusion (Lm-LLO) protein. Lm-LLO consists of a truncated fragment of the Lm protein listeriolysin (LLO), fused to target antigens of interest. Lm-LLO is designed to stimulate a powerful immune response not only to Lm, which is inherent in humans, but to redirect this same response to the target antigens. Lm-LLO-based immunotherapies are designed to generate a more comprehensive immune response by serving as its own adjuvant, directing antigen presentation, and changing the tumor microenvironment by increasing tumor infiltrating killer T cells and decreasing Tregs and myeloid-derived suppressor cells.

    The company’s lead candidate, ADXS-HPV, is in four Phase II trials in HPV-associated diseases: cervical intraepithelial neoplasia 2/3, locally advanced cervical cancer, recurrent/refractory cervical cancer, as well as head and neck cancer. Advaxis adds that over 15 distinct candidates are in various stages of development, both directly by the company and through strategic collaborations such as with the NCI, Cancer Research UK, the Wistar Institute, and the University of Pennsylvania, the University of British Columbia.

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