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Posted: September 20, 2007
IMAGNA Project Team Started Work on Therapeutic Vaccination Against Cat Fibrosarcoma
(Nanowerk News) IMAGNA (immuno gene therapy with magnetic nanoparticles) has been founded by members of the Institute of Experimental Oncology Klinikum rechts der Isar (Technical University Munich), the Clinic of Small Animal Medicine of the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität (Munich), Bayer Schering Pharma AG (Berlin), chemicell GmbH (Berlin), and PlasmidFactory GmbH & Co. KG (Bielefeld) to provide evidence for the usefulness of therapeutic tumor vaccination by the Magnetofection technology in a clinical study in cats with fibrosarcoma. This consortium is supported by a grant from the German Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF).
Standard therapy for cat fibrosarcoma is surgical removal. However, the tumor recurs in 75% of the patients within one year. The IMAGNA team has used Magnetofection to guide cytokine genes directly into the tumor prior to surgical excision. The idea was that the cytokine expression within the tumor mass might activate the immune system against the tumor so that tumor cells missed by the surgical procedure would be killed.
Preliminary results indicate that anti cancer immune therapy with Magnetofection reduces the relapse of cat fibrosarcoma from 75% to nearly 40%. Additional studies are intended to confirm and extend these promising preliminary results and to take initial steps towards a future drug approval, firstly for the veterinary medicine.
The partners contribute with their different competences in the field of veterinary medicine, therapeutic anti cancer vaccination, DNA production, gene transfer and targeting, pharmaceutical manufacturing and regulation.
High-quality plasmid DNA is essential for optimal transfection and vaccination results. Plasmids, however, typically occur in multiple topologies, such as supercoiled ccc forms, open-circular forms, linear forms, and oligomeric forms, where the ccc supercoiled DNA is the only intact and undamaged plasmid form, for unbiased results. PlasmidFactory´s proprietary CGE method to quantify those different plasmid DNA topologies is used to analyze damaging effects in order to improve the plasmid stability during storage as well as freezing and de-freezing procedures of the project specific plasmid DNA formulations.
The nano drug is injected directly into the tumor of cats suffering from fibrosarcoma. A magnetic field lets nanoparticles adhere on the tumor surface and upon entry into the tumor cells, the cytokine is expressed and the immune system is stimulated.
Magnetofection is a novel, easy and highly efficient method for cell transfection. The technology is based on gene vectors associated with super paramagnetic iron oxide nanoparticles. The resulting molecular complexes are then transported into cells supported by an appropriate magnetic field. Nearly 100% of the cells get location-specifically in contact with a significant vector dose resulting in high transfection rates and up to several thousand fold increased transgene expression levels. The technology necessitates extremely low vector doses and is accomplished in very short time i.e. a few minutes making it a valuable tool for gene therapy. The technology, which has been developed by members of the IMAGNA project and funded by the BMBF, is commercially available.
chemicell - www.chemicell.com
chemicell develops and produces innovative bioseparation- gene transfection and detection systems based on magnetic nano- and microparticles. For the IMAGNA project chemicell develops und supplies specific magnetic nanocarriers for site specific tumor vaccination.
PlasmidFactory - www.plasmidfactory.com
PlasmidFactory, the leading contract manufacturer for plasmid DNA and member of the joint project team IMAGNA, supplies all project members with plasmid DNA of reproducibly high quality and performs research on improvements of stability in manufacturing and long-term storage conditions of plasmid DNA.