The immune system protects the body from both external and internal dangers through both non-specific surveillance, known as the innate immune system, and targeted responses, known as the adaptive immune system. These systems work together to target bacteria, viruses, and other foreign invaders. They also scan the body's own cells for inappropriate protein expression, which often is the result of cancerous tissue formation.
The innate immune system also has a powerful role in targeting cancerous cells. Natural Killer (NK) cells detect abnormal cells by reading a combination of normal cell surface proteins. If these proteins are inappropriately expressed, it tells the NK cells that something is wrong and they will specifically target and kill the abnormal cells. This response is critical in eliminating cancer cells which may not otherwise appear abnormal to the adaptive immune system, such as cancers with a low mutational load. Some cancer cells inhibit NK cell activation and prevent these powerful tumor inhibitors from functioning correctly.
Courier Therapeutics has developed a technology which can specifically target and activate both the innate and adaptive immune systems. Our targeting protein, CT101, binds both cytotoxic CD8+ T cells and NK cells.
This enables the targeting of powerful immune activators, such as cytokines, directly to these anticancer immune cells. Such strong immune activators may otherwise be too toxic to deliver systemically as they normally induce a highly localized immune response.