A Sponsored Research Agreement (SRA) was established between OncoSec Medical Inc. (“OncoSec”) and the Massachusetts General Hospital, an affiliate of Harvard Medical School to evaluate the immunological mechanisms that promote the anti-tumoral effects of OncoSec’s clinical stage platform, ImmunoPulseTM IL-12, in a Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) tumor mouse model.
Robert H. Pierce, MD, Chief Scientific Officer at OncoSec stated in a news release that the company is very enthusiastic with this project in collaboration with the Massachusetts General Hospital. He added that Dr. Sara I. Pai, a faculty member at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School, will be the lead researcher of the project.
Dr. Pierce highlighted that Dr. Pai has the expertise to address and investigate the mechanisms by which cancer evades the immune system. He added that HPV-associated tumors have viral antigens that enable tumors to be detected and eliminated by the immune system, however they have strategies to evade the action of immune cells.
OncoSec is a biopharmaceutical company focused in the development of experimental ImmunoPulse™ intratumoral cancer immunotherapy. OncoSec’s immunotherapy platform, ImmunoPulseTM IL-12, was designed to facilitate the uptake of DNA-based IL-12 directly into tumors.
IL-12 is an inflammatory cytokine that plays a crucial role in inducing a series of biological processes that eventually promote T-cell-specific killing of tumor cells. However, this same series of events induces cytokines and chemokines that favor the accumulation of inflammatory T-cells into tumors. Presently, OncoSec is planning to initiate Phase II studies in head and neck cancer and triple negative breast cancer.
Dr. Pierce explained that researchers hypothesize that intratumoral IL-12 electroporation enables the immune system to facilitate the recognition process and eliminate tumors.
Dr. Pai added that the intratumoral delivery of cytokines, such as IL-12, has the potential to change the tumor microenvironment while reducing the associated systemic toxicity linked with other immunotherapeutic target delivery systems.