Our targeted cancer immunotherapy approach is currently based upon two key areas: preventing secondary recurrence of cancer, which is becoming increasingly important as the number of cancer survivors continues to grow; and, primary prevention intended to prevent ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS) from becoming invasive breast cancer. Once a patient’s tumor becomes metastatic, the outcome is often fatal, making the prevention of recurrence a potentially critical component of overall patient care. Our secondary recurrence programs primarily target patients in the adjuvant (after-surgery) setting who have relatively healthy immune systems, but may still have residual disease. Minimal residual disease, or micrometastasis, that are undetectable by current radiographic scanning technologies, can result in disease recurrence.
Our therapies utilize an immunodominant peptide combined with the immune adjuvant, recombinant human granulocyte macrophage-colony stimulating factor (rhGM-CSF), and work by harnessing the patient’s own immune system to seek out and attack any residual cancer cells. Using peptide immunogens has many potential clinical advantages, including a favorable safety profile, since these drugs may lack the toxicities typical of most cancer therapies. They also have the potential to induce immunologic memory and provide long-lasting protection with a convenient, intradermal mode of delivery.