Industry News: Immuno-Oncology Specialists Join Forces with the U.S. National Cancer Institute

07 Feb 2017


Protagen AG has executed a Material Transfer Agreement with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) under which the parties will utilize Protagens SeroTag® immune system profiling technology to identify biomarkers that predict therapy responsiveness, to monitor patients receiving immunotherapies, and for early detection of immune-related adverse events (irAEs). This collaboration with NCI will be led by Jeffrey Schlom, Ph.D., Chief of the Laboratory of Tumor Immunology and Biology at the NCI’s Center for Cancer Research. Protagen AG is a provider of pharma development services and novel companion diagnostic tests in the fields of immuno-oncology and autoimmune disease. NCI is part of the National Institutes of Health.

While targeted immunotherapies such as therapeutic vaccination and checkpoint inhibition hold great promise for treating cancer, they currently work effectively on a small subset of patients. In addition, as these therapies stimulate the immune system to target the body’s own cells, they can also trigger immune-related Adverse Events (irAEs) and even the onset of autoimmune diseases. Through this collaboration, Protagen and NCI intend to provide valuable insight into utilizing immune system profiling to predict response, monitor patients and for detection of immune-related adverse events.

Dr. Peter Schulz-Knappe, Protagens Chief Scientific Officer, commented: “Our unique and innovative SeroTag® technology has already proven that it can be used to accurately monitor the status of patients with autoimmune disease and segregate these complex diseases in homogeneous patient groups with the potential to predict treatment response. Given the links between immunotherapy and autoimmune disease, it will be a natural extension to apply our approach to immuno-oncology and address some of the most pressing questions and challenges in the field. We’re enthused that Dr. Schlom and the NCI share this view and look forward to working with them to leverage the SeroTag® platform to improve therapeutic effectiveness of current and future cancer immunotherapies.”