We seek to increase the percentage of patients responding to checkpoint inhibitors with a combination treatment that activates the immune defense mechanisms to seek out and kill cancer cells.
Our T-cell Activation Platform (“TCAP”) produces therapies that are administered with checkpoint inhibitors and other immuno-modulators to enhance immune response through T-cell activation.
Our TCAP produces allogeneic, off-the-shelf therapies designed to activate the immune system to turn immunologically “cold” tumors “hot”.
Heat’s Therapeutic Advantages vs Challenges
Heat’s Therapeutic Advantages
Heat’s “off-the-shelf,” cancer-fighting therapies are designed to prime the immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells.
- They jump-start immune recognition of common antigens that develop inside the body.
- When used alongside checkpoint inhibitors, they boost T-cell activity to more effectively target cancer cells to destroy them.
- We don’t require invasive procedures or the isolation of patient tissues.
- Our drugs are “off-the-shelf”. We are not extracting anything from anyone. This eliminates the inconvenience and costs associated with securing, storing and transporting patient samples, while eliminating potential surgical risks.
- No requirements for an additional adjuvant, or immune stimulant.
- Other immunotherapies may require the addition of an adjuvant to enhance effectiveness and reduce toxicity. Our product candidate incorporates gp96, itself a powerful biological adjuvant. No additional immune adjuvants are necessary to generate an activated immune response.
- Custom manufacturing is not necessary.
- Products are mass-produced and readily available for immediate patient use.
- Each patient receives the same treatment, offering logistical, manufacturing and other cost benefits, compared to patient-specific or “personalized” medicine approaches.
Challenges to personalized, autologous treatment approaches
- Personalized, autologous treatment approaches often require surgery to remove a tumor sample to isolate a patient’s T-cells, genetically modify them and inject them back into the patient. In the case of CAR-T therapy, the method requires harvesting of a patient’s white blood cells to be reprogrammed, and then reinfused back into the patient.
- These methods can take a month or longer to complete before the drug product can be injected into the patient.
- These treatments are often associated with severe issues, such as cerebral edema and cytokine release syndrome.
Our TCAP therapies have been shown to stimulate an immune response against the full antigenic repertoire of cancer cells, not just one or a handful of antigens. They are designed to combine broad antigen targeting of known and unknown tumor associated antigens complexed with a potent immune adjuvant. The activated immune response generated by our TCAP therapies may be useful in treating a wide range of cancers and infectious diseases.
Immunotherapy “jump-starts” the immune system and put it to work to fight the disease.
- Uses the body’s immune system to attack cancer cells
- Offers increased treatment efficacy
- Often fewer side effects compared to chemotherapy, radiation and surgery
- Well tolerated as adjuvant therapy; can be administered along with chemotherapy
Did you know, immunotherapy has a “memory function?”
- It can remain effective in the body for a long time after treatment. Patients can stay cancer-free for longer with increased overall survival. And, immunotherapy leaves many healthy cells unaffected, so side effects can be less severe and more easily treatable.
When cancer cells are in the body, they must suppress the immune system to survive and metastasize. Tumors hijack natural immune regulatory/checkpoint pathways and avoid immune system detection by sending out a signal to turn off or suppress T-cells, which would otherwise respond to the cancer’s presence.
Checkpoint inhibitors are designed to switch those T-cells back on, and interrupt the signals cancers use to shield them from the immune system. They also restrain immune activity so the body doesn’t attack its own tissues or become overly aggressive when fighting infections. Checkpoint inhibitors are used alongside our cancer-fighting therapies to boost the activity of T-cells so they can better target cancer cells to destroy them.
T-cells are white blood cells that play a central role in cell-mediated immunity and are essential for the immune system to work properly. There are two types of T-cells in the body: Helper T-cells and Killer T-cells. Killer T-cells are responsible for destroying infected cells, while Helper T-cells coordinate the attack.
Killer T-cells, in particular, CD8+ T-cells, “hunt” for cellular abnormalities, like cancer, within the body and destroy them. To do this, they need to recognize the difference between infected and healthy cells with the help of antigens. Antigens work like identification tags that provide the immune system information about the cells in the body – whether they are intruders or healthy cells. Once activated, T-cells can identify cancer cells and eliminate the tumor.