Our Science

Introducing a New Immunotherapy Paradigm

We Generate Immunity for Life. We accomplish this by inducing exceptionally durable memory T cells and antibody responses. Our technologies increase the intelligence of dendritic cells, the master regulators of adaptive immunity. Our platform represents a new class of muti-purpose immunotherapies that target the central actions of our immune system to treat a broad range of cancer and infectious diseases.

Dendritic Cells and Immunotherapies
Dendritic cells (DCs) are the apex regulators of the immune system.
  • DCs are the only cells that can stimulate new T cell responses to cancer and infection.
  • DCs survey the tissues of our body for threats to the host such as cancer or infection.
  • When DCs detect these threats, they instruct T cells to eradicate the threat and restore health to the patient.

DCs survey the tissue of our body for threats such as cancer or infection.

  • DCs detect threats via proteins that operate as sensors of infection.
  • These sensory proteins, when activated, enhance the immunostimulatory functions of DCs.

Dendritic (DCs) are immune sensory cells that detect the presence of threats within the body.

Infection-like signals stimulate DCs to upregulate the three functions needed to generate long-lived memory T cells that can protect us for life.

  • Presentation of antigens.
  • Expression of costimulatory molecules.
  • Secretion of cytokines that stimulate protective functions of T cells.

DCs have the most power over our immune system to treat diseases.

  • Infection-like signals stimulate DCs to provide all the signals needed to generate long-lived memory T cells that can protect us for life.
  • Many approaches to stimulate DCs have been taken into clinical trials, in hopes of stimulating protective immunity.
  • However, clinical success has been rare, as long-lasting memory T cell responses are rarely induced.

Bridging knowledge gaps that limit the success of current immunotherapies

Antigen uptake and presentation

DCs ingest antigens from the body’s tissues and present them on their surface to T cells and other lymphocytes to initiate an immune response. Without antigen presentation, an adaptive immune response – robust and specific to a piece of a pathogen or tumor – cannot be triggered.

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DCs provide co-stimulatory signals to T cells and other lymphocytes when they detect pathogens in their environment to enable an effective inflammatory immune response. In the absence of co-stimulation, T cells and other lymphocytes that interact with DCs become anergic – they do not proliferate or develop their effector functions.

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Short lived effector T cells

Short-lived effector T cells produce effector cytokines to fight active infections or tumors, but they are transient. Since their numbers wane after few weeks, these cells are not ideal to fight recurring diseases or tumors.

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Polarization cytokines

DCs that detect pathogens or damage signals make cytokines that direct the differentiation of T cells and impact T cell longevity. Without these cytokines, T cells may develop into subtypes that less effectively combat pathogens or tumors.

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DCs must move to lymph nodes that drain the infected tissue or cancer to initiate an adaptive immune response. Lymph nodes contain abundant pools of naïve T cells and are the primary sites of DC-T cell interactions that enable adaptive immune responses. In the absence of DC migration, DCs are unable to interact with T cells.

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Memory signal release

DCs can provide memory-inducing cytokines, such as IL-1β, to both generate new (de novo) memory T cells and reactivate existing memory T cells. Hyperactive DCs continuously secrete IL-1β while remaining viable in proximity to T cells. Without the IL-1β signal, a poor memory response is achieved, and patients do not gain lifelong protective immunity.

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Long-lived memory T cells

Long-lived memory T cells have a long-life span and act as persistent reservoirs of immunity that can be reactivated by subsequent antigen encounters. These cells are ideal to fight hard-to-treat infections and cancer, as they can provide long-term protection from re-infection and tumor recurrence.

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Lifelong protective immunity

DCs must perform all five functions to maximally drive long-lived memory T cells. Without all 5 characteristics: antigen presentation, co-stimulatory molecule expression, secretion of polarization cytokines, enhanced migration, and memory signal secretion, DCs will not generate protective immunity for life.

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