CNECT-VAX will validate the technical and commercial feasibility of a new cancer vaccine platform that uses nanobodies targeting dendritic cells to co-deliver antigens in vivo. As of 2019, cancer affects over 19 million people worldwide and results in almost 10 million death annually, however, the treatment of patients remains a challenge. Immunotherapy options including dendritic cell (DC) based vaccines have become available, but the clinical efficacy of such treatment remains very modest and restricted to patient subsets. To overcome the limitations in the current state-of-art solutions and break barriers to achieve higher clinical efficacy, Dr. Martijn Verdoes proposes a novel molecular vaccine strategy that effectively delivers target antigens to DCs in vivo in the patient to concomitantly induce robust synergistic CD4+ and CD8+ T cell responses.
The technical feasibility of CNECT-VAX will be assessed both in vitro and in vivo, using monocyte-derived human dendritic cells (MoDC) and a mouse model containing humanized DCs respectively. In both systems, the functionality of DCs and the consequent T cell activation and immune responses will be measured. Subsequently, commercial feasibility will be determined by verifying IP position and strategy, performing in-depth market and competitor analyses, and finally consolidating these into a business plan to establish the best path to commercialization. Successful commercialization of CNECT-VAX could reduce the profound socioeconomic burden of cancer, extend and improve the lives of patients, provide the pharmaceutical industry with further collaborative opportunities, and stimulate further scientific research based on this platform to treat other pathogenic diseases.
Fields of science
- HORIZON.1.1 - European Research Council (ERC) Main Programme