MGN1601 - cell-based gene therapy

With its cell-based gene therapy against cancer, MOLOGEN AG is pursuing an innovative approach to the treatment of carcinogenic diseases that combines the complex platform technologies MIDGE® and dSLIM® in a single product. 

The mechanism of action behind this form of treatment is based on the ability to trigger a cross-reaction by the patient's immune system against the body's own cancer cells. Through the use of alien (or allogeneic) tumor cells, the patient's immune system is activated and empowered to recognize and fight the tumor cells within the body.

For this to happen, however, a reaction must have been triggered against the allogeneic cancer cells, through which the immune system has learned what cancer cells typically look like. In order to induce this effect as strong as possible, the allogeneic tumor cells are genetically modified using MIDGE® vectors and also combined with the immunomodulator dSLIM® as a vaccine enhancer (so-called adjuvant) before they are injected into the patient.

The mechanism of action of MGN1601

Efficacious and safe approach

Through the targeted combination of genetically modified allogeneic cells with the immunomodulator dSLIM®, the patient's immune system is activated in an extremely effective way. On the one hand, a specific immune response is triggered against the tumor-associated antigens (TAA) located on the modified tumor cells. On the other, a non-specific immune response is triggered that primarily activates so-called natural killer cells (NK cells), which are then able to fight the body's own tumor cells more effectively (mechanism of action). Cell-based genetic therapy is a highly promising approach to overcoming the immune system's fatal tolerance toward cancer cells, i.e. enabling it to recognize cancer cells again and therefore create the basis for destroying them. 

A characteristic feature of cancer-related diseases is that degenerated cancer cells are not completely recognized by the immune system as foreign or malignant, allowing these cells to grow unhindered. Treatments that are oriented towards only one specific property of a particular kind of tumor (i.e. against a very specific tumor-associated antigen, TAA) often exhibit only short-term successes. Tumor cells are frequently able to adapt to external
influences through changes (mutations). As a result, cancer cells can constantly reproduce and the treatment concept becomes ineffective.

By contrast, the mechanism of action developed by MOLOGEN, which is based on genetically modified allogeneic tumor cells, is highly effective through its complexity. The allogeneic tumor cells not only possess a special antigen, but also a variety of tumor-associated antigens which also occur on the body's own cancer cells. This offers the immune system the opportunity to attack the tumor in numerous ways. This therapy concept aims to significantly hamper or even completely remove the cancer cells' ability to "evade" attack.