Genvax vs. CAR-T
CAR-T (Chimeric Antigen Receptor T-cells) therapy artificially directs T-cells to attack tumour cells. CAR-T is currently a source of great clinical and commercial interest, and has recently been the subject of several major commercial deals, collectively totalling more than USD$1.5B. Genvax has a similar, and arguably superior, therapeutic effect compared to CAR-T, and it has a number of important clinical and commercial advantages. As explained below, these include the potential for less side-effects, a greatly expanded set of targeted tumour markers, the potential to immunise against future occurrence of cancer, the ability to repeatedly treat the patient, and a lower cost of goods.
CAR-T is considered a “passive” immunotherapy since it does not require the active engagement of the patient’s immune system. With few if any exceptions, CAR-T cells are taken from the patient, engineered and expanded outside the patient’s body, and then infused back into the patient. Passive immunotherapy is most potent immediately after administration, and weakens progressively over time, unless the therapy is amplified in the patient’s body, for example through the proliferation of infused cells. CAR-T takes no part in the natural immune response. In contrast, Genvax is an “active” immunotherapy as it induces a potent and natural anti-tumour immune response in the patient. This Genvax reaction is naturally amplified as a typical immune response. Like other active vaccines, e.g. measles, rubella, etc., Genvax is also likely to generate immunological memory, which can also be boosted for extended protection against recurrence of the particular type of cancer.
CAR-T relies on the identification of individual tumour-specific surface markers and genetic engineering of the T-cell receptors that bind to them. CAR-T has been successful in treating late-stage leukaemia patients using a specific tumour marker, CD19, as the target. CAR-T has not been shown to be effective in tumours that have no known marker, or solid tumours that have the same markers as normal cells in the body. The lack of demonstrated efficacy beyond blood cancers bearing the CD19 marker may have contributed to a recent pullback in the value of some leading CAR-T developers, perhaps reflecting concerns about the utility of CAR-T in solid tumours.
Genvax does not require specific tumour markers, rather Genvax vaccine cells have a wide ranging repertoire of cancer targets. Neither does the Genvax approach require protracted development for each individual patient; Genvax is “off-the-shelf”. In addition Genvax develops a natural, self-regulating immune response, and it is therefore superior to CAR-T which requires careful clinical management of dangerous side-effects with other drugs.