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12:00 AM
Jan 22, 2007
 |  BioCentury  |  Emerging Company Profile

Bellicum: Dendritic cell engineering

Bellicum Pharmaceuticals Inc. believes its BP-GMAX-CD1 autologous dendritic cell-based prostate cancer vaccine will provide a more potent and longer-lasting response than first-generation vaccines, because it can be activated at the right time and location in the body using an injectable compound that acts as a switch.

The company says its approach extends dendritic cell lifespan, minimizes nonspecific immune responses and circumvents negative feedback mechanisms that exist to protect the body from autoimmune activity.

First-generation autologous dendritic cell (DC)-based cancer vaccines use a patient's white blood cells, which are cultured into DCs and presented with tumor antigens before being injected back into the patient. The DCs are activated using specially conditioned maturation media and adjuvants such as toll-like receptor (TLR) agonists or CD40 ligand (CD40L).

The activated DCs migrate to the lymph nodes, where they activate cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs) that recognize and attack tumor cells.

While Provenge sipuleucel-T from Dendreon Corp. (DNDN, Seattle, Wash.) could be the first...

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