Seattle-based biotechnology innovator TapImmune Inc. (OTCBB:TPIV) is on to something big. Very big. The company has engineered a remarkable, yet elegantly simple, way for the body to recognize tumor and infectious disease cells and provoke an aggressive immune response whereby the body's own killer T-Cells attack and eradicate harmful foreign bodies. This with respect to any form of cancer or disease via a technology that's entirely non-discriminate in helping the body eradicate dangerous cells of many kinds.
Underscoring the vast potential of TapImmune's approach is its exclusive licensing option agreement with the Mayo Clinic for a breast cancer antigen technology complementary to the company's TAP (AdhTAP) protocol. In a novel approach, TapImmune and the Mayo Clinic will co-develop a specialized vaccine for patients with very aggressive HER2/neu breast cancer. What's unique is that TapImmune's technology actually re-activates the body's own immune system, triggering mission-critical self-curative mechanisms that would otherwise not function properly.
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We chose to work with the Mayo Clinic because they have great clinical expertise in breast cancer, and we're focusing specifically on HER2/neu breast cancer because we found complementary technology with Mayo that will work with TAP and address the problems found with earlier approaches, explains Dr. Glynn Wilson, chairman and CEO of TapImmune. Importantly, we're able to work with a leading expert on breast cancer vaccines, Dr. Keith Knutson of the Mayo Clinic, who will conduct the trials. Through these trials, we'll also address a huge clinical need for patients who express low to moderate levels of HER2/neu and are not candidates for treatment with Herceptin(R) (trastuzumab), an intravenously delivered monoclonal antibody.
How it Works
Simply put, TAP (transporters associated with antigen processing) plays a major role in the complex human immune system. When foreign bodies (viruses and disease) attack cells in the body, the normal response is for killer T-cells to find those invaders and destroy them. TAP is a transporter that helps trigger an immune response by providing a pathway for tumor antigens to be expressed on the surface of the cell. In most solid cancers TAP levels are greatly reduced, which prevents the antigen presentation required to stimulate T-cells into action.
In the treatment of cancer, TAP is analogous to turning on the light bulb on the surface of tumor cells, allowing immune cells to see them and inspire action accordingly. For infectious disease treatment, TAP turns the light bulb to a higher intensity to prompt more immune cells to act. TAP potentially allows the immune system to see everything that's foreign on the surface, in contrast to other approaches that simply focus on a single tumor antigen to try and raise an immune response. Indeed, TapImmune's technology is entirely unique in that it isn't dependent on genetics like other immunotherapies and doesn't directly target the tumor cells, but instead assists the body's own immune system to do what it was designed to do by turning the TAP back on and activating destroyer T-Cells into kill mode. See a more detailed explanation of the science of TAP below.