CYN Platform – Scientific Approach

As seen in some of our animal models, the immune-driven mechanism of the Sindbis viral (SV) vector anti-cancer activity is two-fold. It binds to and enters the cancer cells via the laminin receptor proteins that are over-expressed in numerous cancers, including many ovarian tumors, thus providing tumor specificity. It may also activate and recruit an immune response to trigger cell death. In part, this may be accomplished when the SV vectors transit through the lymph nodes, where antigen presenting cells and T cells interact, leading to the production of activated CD8+ (or cytotoxic) T cells, which migrate to the tumor site. In certain models, these CD8+ T cells, aided by other immune cells, kill tumor cells bearing tumor-associated-antigens carried and expressed by the SV vectors. Moreover, when cancer cells are killed either by the SV vector, through direct apoptosis, or by activated CD8+ T cells, they break apart releasing other immunogenic cancer biomarkers in addition to the original tumor-associated antigen. Once the immune system is activated in certain animal models, it attacks the SV infected cells and the tumor-associated antigen expressing cells, and it also begins to recognize and attack the other cancer biomarkers released from the tumors. This is called epitope spreading. In this way, the SV vector may trigger an immunotherapeutic response to attack tumors, and as importantly it may generate a memory immune response that may have the potential to prevent or slow recurrence. Thus we have a potential immunotherapeutic vaccine platform that will be developed with the goal of targeting and releasing cancer antigens. If clinical responses are consistent with those obtained in certain animal models, we believe, that when SV vectors are injected into the blood stream of an ovarian cancer patient, they will travel to different parts of the body, attacking not only the primary tumor but also cancer cells that may have spread elsewhere, even if they are not detected by imaging.

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Sindbis Virus