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The Activartis AV0113 technology platform

Activartis’ patented AV0113 technology platform is a completely individualised cancer immunotherapy based on dendritic cells (DC).

Dendritic cells coordinate the immune system

Dendritic cells infiltrate all tissues of an organism, where they form a dense network of sentinel cells. Their default function is the maintenance of tolerance against auto-antigens. In case of a dangerous situation caused by a microbial infection, they switch their mode of action and become potent immune stimulatory cells. A DC determines how dangerous the microorganisms are using special molecular structures which do not exist in higher organisms. One example is lipopolysaccharide (LPS), a component of the bacterial cell wall. The LPS mediated danger signal causes DCs to migrate into the regional lymph nodes, where they present the antigens picked up in an infected organ to T lymphocytes. Activating DC membrane receptors and releasing cytokines (in particular interleukin-12) delivers the ‘marching orders’ to the T lymphocytes together with a ‘licence to kill’.

Tumour tissue does not release danger signals

Tumours are not recognised by the immune system as being dangerous. In contrast to microorganisms, they do not have the specific molecular structures that enable DCs to recognise and interpret the tumour cells as dangerous. As long as the DC’s danger receptors are not engaged, they suppress all forms of immunity, thereby protecting the tumour from any attack by the immune system.

Activartis’ DC cancer immunotherapy AV0113: a completely individualised treatment concept

“Deceiving” dendritic cells

The basic principle of DC cancer immunotherapy is based on ‘deceiving’ the patient’s dendritic cells by exposing them to a bacterial danger signal (lipopolysaccharide, LPS) in addition to the patient’s own tumour antigens. This causes the dendritic cells to categorise the tumour antigens as dangerous and consequently launch an immune response against the tumour tissue. The dendritic cells enable tumour antigen-specific T cells (including cytotoxic or killer T cells), to identify and destroy tumour tissue.

Advantages of the Activartis AV0113 technology platform

The Activartis AV0113 technology is the first active cancer immunotherapy – therapeutic cancer vaccine – to enable the release of the immune stimulatory cytokine interleukin-12. This signalling molecule is of critical importance to initiate and support an immune response dominated by cytotoxic or killer T cells. 

Activartis cancer immunotherapy utilises simple logistical procedures, thereby ensuring considerable flexibility in its application.

Patent status

Activartis’ AV0113 technology platform is protected by a family of patents describing the use of DCs producing interleukin-12 and charged with tumour antigens. Filed in 2002 by the St. Anna Children’s Cancer Research Institute, patents have been licensed to Activartis and granted in most relevant markets: AT13752002, also published as: AT412145, AU2003260473, CA2494216, EP1537203, JP2005538167, US2006177420, US7867488 and WO2004024900. A US patent for DCs secreting interleukin-12 was granted at the beginning of 2011 (US 7,867,488 B2). 

In 2007, Activartis filed a patent application for a new generation of cancer vaccines based on genetically modified DCs which are currently the focus of pre-clinical research.