TapImmune Inc. is a biotechnology company known for innovative approach of fighting cancer and other diseases through the use of preventative and therapeutic vaccines. The company’s program for a therapeutic vaccine to unspecific tumors represents a conceptual leap in the design of therapeutic cancer vaccines.
In pre-clinical studies, TapImmune’s AdhTAP vaccine has been shown to increase the sensitivity of the immune system to recognize and destroy cancerous cells. This result is achieved by resurrecting the expression of MHC class 1 restricted tumor antigens on the cell surface. The action of the immune system, specifically the killer T-cells, to recognize and destroy tumors is dependent on the expression of adequate numbers of MHC 1 molecules on the surface of the tumor.
The action of the company’s TAP vaccine increases MHC 1 expression by restoring the expression of TAP proteins in cancer, thereby increasing the transport of tumor antigens to the endoplasmic reticulum. Once there, the tumor antigen peptides can form functional MHC 1 molecules that will be transported and presented on the cancer cell surface to the immune system. In effect, the cancer will then be waving a big flag to the body’s immune system saying “Here I am, kill me.”
TapImmune’s vaccine re-establishes the presentation of tumor antigens on the MHC class 1 molecule, identifying the cancer to the cellular arm of the immune system. The killer T-cells of the immune system are stimulated to expand in number and destroy the cancerous cells. The expanded immune system response also provides a fabulous “bystander effect.” Tumors untouched by the vaccine also come under killer T-cell attack.
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