9:53 AM
Aug 18, 2017
 |  BioCentury  |  Emerging Company Profile

Teasing out Th1

EpiThany's strategy for creating more potent therapeutic cancer vaccines

EpiThany Inc. aims to increase the potency of therapeutic cancer vaccines by designing antigens that selectively activate immune-stimulating Th1 cells, without incurring the immunosuppressive effects caused by Th2 cell activation.

Like most cancer vaccines in development, EpiThany's deliver self-antigens -- pieces of proteins normally found in the body but produced at much higher levels in tumor cells than in healthy cells.

However, CEO Bill Watt told BioCentury the antigens EpiThany uses have been engineered to remove T helper type 2 (Th2) epitopes.

While Th1 cells produce cytokines that activate cytotoxic T cells against tumors, Th2 cells produce a different set of cytokines that suppress cytokine production in Th1 cells.

"One reason we've seen inconsistent efficacy of cancer vaccines is that, for the most part, they deliver full-length antigen constructs or poorly selected constructs that contain Th2 epitopes," Watt said. "If your antigen construct contains a Th2 epitope, it will undermine...

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