Midatech’s immunotherapy franchise aims to create commercial vaccines for cancer and auto-immune diseases, that have no or limited treatment options. MidaCore™ , the key underpinning technology of these vaccines, represents an innovative approach whereby gold nanoparticles are designed with antigenic peptides and other immune moieties to either i. activate and enhance the immune response against tumour cells or ii. to suppress the immune response in autoimmune diseases.
MidaCore vaccines are easily injectable and rapidly mobile to lymph nodes and antigen presenting cells (APCs) – the gateway cells of the human immune system . Upon reaching the APC’s, the MidaCore™vaccine is processed by the intracellular machinery, and then expressed on the surface of the APC’s via MHC class I receptors. This expression is then recognised by CD8+T-lymphocyte attacking immune cells, that then proliferate and seek out and attack cancer cells with the same peptide epitope expressed on their surface. In the case of autoimmune disease such as Type 1 Diabetesthe T lymphocytes that respond to the beta cell antigen peptide on the gold nanoparticle are CD4 T-regulatory cells that instead of stimulating the immune system actually act to dampen down the immune response and thus reduce the body attacking itself. Thus the same gold nanoparticle concept is common to both cancer and autoimmune applications, but the immune system is stimulated in the former and reduced in the latter depending on the gold nanoparticle peptide combination selected. MidaCore™ has already been through regulatory assessment and shown to be safe and suitable for human administration.
Childhood Brain Cancer
The MTR111 vaccine complex comprises the gold nanoparticle bound to DIPG specific surface receptor peptide H3.3 K27 mutation. This mutation is found in 80% of DIPG tumour cells and not on normal body cells, hence is expected to result in an immune response very specific to the tumour cells. This enhanced ‘handshake’ between tumour & immune cells, facilitated by MidaCore™ technology, stimulates the immune system to increase uptake by immune cells and increase stimulation of killer T-cells that attack the tumour. This program is currently in pre-clinical studies
Adult Brain Cancer
The MTR116 vaccine combines MTP gold nanoparticle technology with GBM specific surface receptor peptide survivin. The MidaCore™ ultra-small nanoparticle enters immune processing cells, and induces cell-mediated immune responses and T-cell proliferation to target cancer cells with survivin targets on the cell surface, thus killing the tumour cells. This program is currently in pre-clinical phases, and preliminary data supports the strong scientific rationale for the potential benefits of MidaCore™ as a vaccine platform.
Autoimmune Disease (Diabetes)
The MidaCore™ technology progresses beyond the current state-of-the-art in diabetes immunotherapy by generating an antigen specific form of immunotherapy (ASI) without the potential risks of current immunosuppressive approaches. It is a significantly more effective form of ASI than previous or current approaches due to its low toxicity approach by the use of intradermal targeting of inert, renally excreted gold nano particles. It is a low cost form of therapy that does not require clinical grade cell culture facilities or other complex facilities to deliver. The system is based on combining elements – gold nanoparticles and peptide - confirmed to be of low toxicity and already in use in a Phase I clinical trial.