UTokyo concludes agreement to develop personalized cancer vaccine

IMAGE: This is a diagram of the neoantigen vaccine. view more 

Credit: 2018 BrightPath Biotherapeutics Co., Ltd.

Tokyo – The University of Tokyo entered an agreement for developing a personalized cancer vaccine using a novel method involving the body’s immune response. The collaborative research agreement was concluded with the Kanagawa Cancer Center in Yokohama and BrightPath Biotherapeutics, a biopharmaceutical company based in Tokyo.

Recent progress in cancer immunotherapy has led to remarkable advances in the development of treatments for cancer patients. They include such treatments as immune checkpoint inhibitors, making use of the body’s immune response to recognize and attack cancer cells, and chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) therapy, employing the body’s own immune cells that have been genetically altered to better target tumor cells.

To realize more effective therapies, researchers are now focusing on personalized medicine, which offers optimal treatment based on individual patients’ pathology and immune responses. Rapid progress in genome sequencing and analysis technologies in recent years is making it possible to comprehensively analyze cancer-specific genetic mutations that are unique to each patient.

Because antigens (substances that give rise to an immune response) derived from such mutations, called neoantigens, appear only when cancer develops, the immune


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