Satellite Banner
Scientific Community
Become a Member | Sign in
Home>News>This Article

New EU-funded Consortium to Develop Fully Personalized Cancer Vaccines

Published: Friday, July 05, 2013
Last Updated: Thursday, July 04, 2013
Bookmark and Share
Multinational clinical trial treating glioblastoma patients with fully personalized therapeutic vaccines planned to start in 2014.

A highly innovative project supported by a €6 million European Union Framework 7 (EU FP7) program grant to develop a novel class of therapeutic cancer vaccines is now under way.

The Glioma Actively Personalized Vaccine Consortium (GAPVAC) is the first EU-funded initiative aimed at clinically developing biomarker-guided actively personalized vaccines (APVACs) to treat cancer patients.

The consortium consists of 14 organizations from the biotech industry and academia with cutting-edge expertise in cancer vaccine development.

The consortium will be led by immatics biotechnologies GmbH (Coordinator) and BioNTech AG (Vice Coordinator). Both companies are located in Germany and are dedicated to a biomarker-guided approach to fight cancer.

The project
The GAPVAC project is designed to create, manufacture and develop actively personalized vaccines (APVACs) tailored for each patient based on the individual aspects of the patient’s tumor and immune system.

The latest technologies, including next-generation sequencing (NGS), high-sensitivity mass spectrometry and innovative immunomonitoring approaches, will be combined to generate an optimal therapy for the individual patient.

GAPVAC will address the high unmet medical need in glioblastoma, an aggressive form of brain cancer with poor prognosis, where the limited treatments available today have minimal effect on overall survival.

The project aims to show that APVACs are well tolerated and induce a strong and specific immune response against cancer. Furthermore, the partners will demonstrate that this novel personalized approach is feasible.

The clinical trial
immatics and BioNTech will jointly take this actively personalized approach to immunotherapy into clinical development.

At the core of the GAPVAC project is a phase 1 clinical trial which will enroll up to 30 newly diagnosed glioblastoma patients and is expected to start in 2014.

Glioblastoma patients will be repetitively immunized with a vaccine specifically prepared for each individual. This actively personalized vaccine will be administered in addition to standard chemotherapy after surgery and initial radiochemotherapy are completed.

The clinical trial will be led by chief investigator Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Wick, University of Heidelberg, and co-led by Prof. Dr. Pierre-Yves Dietrich, University of Geneva, both internationally recognized experts in the treatment and immunology of brain cancer.

The partners
immatics will use its unique antigen discovery engine XPRESIDENT™ to generate a warehouse of tumor-associated peptides (TUMAPs) from which the most suitable for each patient are selected based on transcriptomic and peptidomic analysis to create the first of two APVACs applied to the patient.

BioNTech AG will add proprietary glioblastoma-expressed tumor-associated antigens to the peptide warehouse. immatics and BioNTech will use their mass spectrometry and next-generation sequencing (NGS) expertise, respectively, to identify immunogenic tumor mutations and generate a blueprint for the personalized vaccine that will include patient-specific tumor mutated peptides.

For the first time, BioNTech has demonstrated that the integrated use of NGS for genome-wide mutation identification (the “mutanome”) followed by mutation-targeting vaccination is feasible and leads to tumor control in pre-clinical models.

The APVAC “on-demand” manufacturing will be performed by the GMP-unit at the Department of Immunology (led by Prof. Dr. Hans-Georg Rammensee), University of Tuebingen. The complex peptide warehouse will be manufactured by BCN Peptides in Spain, an enterprise focused on peptide synthesis for clinical use.

In addition, ten academic partners from Europe and the US have joined the consortium to apply the APVACs to their patients as well as contributing to the project with their own research.

These will be: Eberhard Karls University Tuebingen (Germany), Beatson West of Scotland Cancer Centre (Scotland), Universities Hospital Geneva (Switzerland), Universities Hospital Heidelberg (Germany), Herlev Hospital/ Rigshospitalet (Denmark), Leiden University Medical Centre (The Netherlands), University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute (US), University Southampton (UK), Technion (Israel) and Vall d’Hebron University Hospital (Spain).

The clinical trial will be accompanied by an extensive biomarker program led by the Association of Cancer Immunotherapy (CIMT), a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of cancer vaccines, and immatics to confirm the mechanism-of-action and to identify biomarker signature candidates predicting which patients are most likely to benefit from treatment with APVACs.

CIMT will also act as the dissemination platform and will contribute to the biomarker program and regulatory approach through its working parties.

Dr. Harpreet Singh, Chief Scientific Officer of immatics and Coordinator of the GAPVAC consortium, said: “GAPVAC represents an exciting step forward as the first project exploring actively personalized therapeutic cancer vaccines at a European level. Unlike other approaches, this consortium is looking at the specific characteristics of each patient’s disease. If successful, this novel approach could create a completely new way to treat cancer. Such a unique approach is only possible by combining a variety of the latest technological innovations and by joining forces with superb biotechnology companies and academic institutions - by partners who share a dedication for the personalization of therapy for the benefit of cancer patients.”

Further Information
Access to this exclusive content is for Technology Networks Premium members only.

Join Technology Networks Premium for free access to:

  • Exclusive articles
  • Presentations from international conferences
  • Over 2,600+ scientific posters on ePosters
  • More than 3,800+ scientific videos on LabTube
  • 35 community eNewsletters

Sign In

Forgotten your details? Click Here
If you are not a member you can join here

*Please note: By logging into you agree to accept the use of cookies. To find out more about the cookies we use and how to delete them, see our privacy policy.

Scientific News
New Virus Identified In Blood Supply
Scientists have discovered a new virus that can be transmitted through the blood supply.
Tracking Changes in DNA Methylation In Real Time At Single-Cell Resolution
Whitehead Institute researchers have developed a methodology to monitor changes in DNA methylation over time in individual cells.
DNA Alterations as Among Earliest to Occur in Lung Cancer Development
Genetic footprints of precancer detectable in some blood samples.
Bar-Coding Technique Opens Up Studies Within Single Cells
Scientists have developed a method for simultaneously imaging and identifying dozens of molecules within individual cells.
Scientists Learn How to Predict Plant Size
VIB and UGent scientists have developed a new method which allows them to predict the final size of a plant while it is still a seedling.
New Device Reduces Time to Diagnose Infections
A new diagnostic device created by a collaborative team of UA engineers and scientists may significantly reduce the amount of time necessary to diagnose tissue infections.
Surprising Mechanism Behind Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria Uncovered
Now, scientists at TSRI have discovered that the important human pathogen Staphylococcus aureus, develops resistance to this drug by “switching on” a previously uncharacterized set of genes.
Researchers Develop qPCR Prognosis Test for NSCLC Patients
A nine-gene molecular prognostic index (MPI) for patients with early-stage non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC) was able to provide accurate survival stratification and could potentially inform the use of adjuvant therapy in patients struggling with the disease.
Genome Wide Annotation of Primary miRNAs Reveals Novel Mechanisms
Researchers have devised a strategy for genome-wide annotation of primary miRNA transcripts, providing extensive new annotations in human and mouse, and shedding light on mechanisms of regulation of microRNA gene expression.
‘Fishing Expedition’ Nets Nearly Tenfold Increase in Number of Sequenced Virus Genomes
Newly developed computational tool finds 12,500 genomes of viruses that infect microbes.
Skyscraper Banner

Skyscraper Banner
Go to LabTube
Go to eposters
Access to the latest scientific news
Exclusive articles
Upload and share your posters on ePosters
Latest presentations and webinars
View a library of 1,800+ scientific and medical posters
2,600+ scientific and medical posters
A library of 2,500+ scientific videos on LabTube
3,800+ scientific videos