TapImmune Inc., a growing biotechnology company known for its innovative approach to fighting cancer and infectious diseases, is focused on a vaccine technology based on modulating the activity of the body’s own defense mechanisms to help it identify and fight off infected and/or cancerous cells.
Although the idea of assisting the body’s immune system is not new, TapImmune’s achievements have been especially encouraging. The company’s developments have been written up in a number of prestigious scientific journals, and have even broken through to the popular press with television and magazine coverage.
TapImmune’s primary product is the TAP vaccine, based on the TAP molecule, a remarkable formulation which has been found to play a key role in moving important cellular markers, called antigens, to the surface of cells. This is critical to immune system effectiveness and its ability to detect and attack malignant cells that develop into deadly metastatic cancers.
The immune system distinguishes between normal cells and cancerous or virus infected cells by monitoring the cell’s surface for a molecule and associated peptide fragments. When the cell presents this to the immune system, the body can determine the appropriate course of action. With normal healthy cells, this molecule is recognized and the cell is accepted by the body. However, if the cell’s surface contains abnormal peptide fragments, generated by viral proteins or cancerous mechanisms, the molecule stimulates the immune system’s army, called killer T-cells, to attack and destroy the cell.
It’s obviously critical that this antigen presentation process operates effectively to allow the immune system to differentiate bad cells from good cells. TapImmune’s vaccine technology successfully modulates the activity of this antigen processing machinery to significantly increase effective presentation of antigens to the immune system, where they can be evaluated and acted upon.
The TAP molecule also enhances targeted vaccines against infectious diseases. For example, in a smallpox vaccine study, potency was increased by 100-1000 times; impressive numbers, especially when considering that the global vaccine market is approaching $21 billion.
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