A research team led by Moutih Rafei, a professor in UdeM’s Department of Pharmacology and Physiology, is perfecting a new cancer vaccine platform
Moutih Rafei heads a research project in collaboration with the Jewish General Hospital that has just been awarded over $1.3 million in funding from the non-profit biopharmaceutical research consortium CQDM through Quebec Ministry of Economy, Innovation and Energy and Defence Therapeutics, a biotech company specializing in the development of new generation vaccines.
Cancer vaccines have been the focus of numerous studies over the past decade. However, so far this promising immunotherapy-based strategy has failed to produce an effective and safe immune response in line with clinical expectations.
One vaccine for many cancers
Now a team led by Rafei, a professor under grant, is taking up the challenge of developing a new vaccine using a technology called ACCUM, a biological platform initially designed for delivering biologic drugs to target cells.
Preclinical trials have shown that ACCUM can be used to convert mesenchymal stem cells into powerful antigen-presenting cells that activate the patient’s immune system to fight cancer.
In this collaborative project, the research team will finalize the preclinical studies, establish a manufacturing protocol for the vaccine and conduct Phase 1 clinical trials on patients with melanoma.
Not only is this technology much simpler and less costly than other approaches currently under development, but it could potentially be used for a wide range of cancers and therefore improve the lives of countless patients.
“Our project represents a major step forward in the fight against cancer, one that we believe will radically transform the field of cell-based vaccination and allow us to one day target many other types of cancer.” - Moutih Rafei, professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology at UdeM’s Faculty of Medicine