BioMmune’s CD74 program consists of technologies discovered at The University of British Columbia that relate to the role that the chaperone protein, CD74, plays in the presentation of not only MHC Class II molecules in dendritic cells, but also the important role CD74 plays in the presentation of MHC Class I molecules. The discovery of CD74’s role in the presentation of MHC Class I is ground-breaking and may lead to greatly improved immune responses to pathogen or cancer antigens through the activation of dendritic cells with vaccine adjuvants.
Dendritic Cells are immune system cells that present antigens (peptides) on their surfaces that are recognized by the immune system’s T Cells, which in turn cause the destruction of the cells when the presented antigens are from exogenous (foreign) proteins. In dendritic cells, both Class I and Class II MHC (Major Histocompatibility Complex) molecules are responsible for the presentation of antigens on the cells’ surfaces. MHC molecules are formed in the endoplasmic reticulum and are then transported through complex structures where the antigens are processed and “loaded” into the MHC molecules, which then transport the antigens to the cells’ surfaces.
The discovery of the role that CD74 plays in the presentation of antigens with MHC Class I provides BioMmune with methods of modulating MHC I mediated immune responses through the modification of CD74, causing specific antigenic peptides to be presented and transfected in specific cells for expression. This process is essential for CD8+ T cell mediated responses against viruses, tumours, self-antigens and allografts.
In January, 2014, the Company entered into an agreement with UBC whereby UBC will conduct research to create antibodies that modulate the activation of leukocytes (white blood cells) to determine whether these antibodies modulate inflammation and immune function in animal models of human diseases such as transplant rejection and allergy.
Several antigenic molecules such as HIV nef, Influenza M, and ovalbumin have been cloned into CD74 protein. These different DNA constructs have been introduced into a mammalian expression system based on an AdMax™ adenovirus vector system. It is planned to express these constructs in cells such as dendritic cells and to measure and characterize the T and B cell responses induced by these different recombinant viral constructs after infection of mice in-vivo.