October 8, 2008 (Providence, RI)–Dr. Annie De Groot, CEO of EpiVax, is the lead author on an article highlighting key findings about the activation of natural regulatory T cells by IgG Fc–derived peptide, also known as Epi-13 or “Tregitopes.” These findings were published in the October 8 issue of the prestigious Blood, the medical journal published by the American Society of Hematology.
In an accompanying editorial, Rachel Caspi of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) wrote, “This important finding has the potential to explain tolerance to human antibody variable regions, the effects of immunoglobulin-Ag conjugates, the weak immunogenicity of Fc fusion proteins, and the therapeutic and regulatory effects of clinical preparations of IVIg on autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.” De Groot is the principal investigator of newly awarded grants from the NIH and the Montel Williams Foundation to explore the use of the Tregitopes in Type 1 Diabetes (Juvenile Diabetes) and Multiple Sclerosis, respectively.
Dr. Harald Kropshofer, the Global Coordinator for Immunosafety at F. Hoffman-La Roche in Switzerland, also commented on the article, saying that this Tregitope technology “represents a shift in thinking that may allow the biotherapeutics industry to address a range of unanswered questions related to side-effects based on immunogenicity; it truly has the potential to provide important advances in minimizing unwanted immune responses through tolerance induction.”
About Autoimmune Diseases
In most patients with autoimmune disease, responses to the body’s own proteins cause tissue damage or dysregulation of normal body functions. Autoimmune diseases include such illnesses as Rheumatoid Arthritis, Juvenile Diabetes, Multiple Sclerosis, and others The approach used by EpiVax is called “Antigen-Specific Adaptive Tolerance Induction (ASATI™)” to specifically target and reduce undesirable immune responses. EpiVax used its proprietary computer algorithms to identify the molecules that induce ASATI.
Because ASATI uses the body’s own natural responses, this intervention has the potential to be far safer than immunosuppressive drugs that are now being studied. The promising treatment, called Epi-13™, may have application to a broad range of auto-immune disorders.
Epi-13™ is a group of “Tregitope” peptides that induce the body’s own natural regulatory T cells. When administered in conjunction with other antigens or protein immunogens, the response to these immunogens is diminished and altered if the antigen/immunogens are co-administered with Epi-13. Preliminary in vitro and in vivo studies indicate that the modification of the immune response is due to the induction of natural T reg cells.
EpiVax, Inc. is a biotechnology company that is dedicated to merging in vitro immunology research with bioinformatics to generate new therapeutics for cancer and autoimmune diseases as well as new vaccines for infectious diseases such as HIV, TB, and hepatitis. T cell epitope mapping, the selection of target peptides from any protein sequence, is a powerful resource for the development of novel protein therapeutics. EpiVax research shows that peptides chosen by EpiMatrix™ software are highly likely to provoke an immune response when presented to T cells. EpiVax tools can also accurately deimmunize proteins. For more information about EpiVax, please visit www.epivax.com.