Academics at the University of Edinburgh provide new production strategies for biological treatments for Glioblastoma.

In this project, IBioIC funded a team of scientists at Edinburgh University to work with ILC Therapeutics to develop a platform that could produce hybrid proteins, based on the Type 1 Interferons, with enhanced cancer fighting capabilities.

ILC have developed a range of patented proteins that can stimulate a patient’s own cells to fight cancer, atopic dermatitis and psoriasis. These proteins are particularly effective when combined with cells known as ‘Natural Killers’.

The team, led by Kathryn Ball, worked with ILC Therapeutics to develop a platform that could produce hybrid interferons with enhanced cancer fighting capabilities.

What are interferons?

The Interferons are a group of small proteins discovered in the 1957 by Alick Isaacs and Jean Lindenmann in London that were believed originally to primarily fight viral infections. There are 13 subtypes of the Type 1 interferons, but it was believed for several decades that these subtypes were duplications of one another. ILC Therapeutics have shown that these subtypes elicit varied responses from the immune system,  are very important in the control of many aspects of immunity and that their activities can be modified to better target their regulation of immune responses.

Making use of variation

Kathryn Ball’s team used variation in the interferons in combination with sophisticated purification systems to improve the industrial production of non-canonical interferons so that they were soluble and had a low endotoxin background. In addition, they tested interferons in pre-clinical assays using cancer cell models. Results form the Ball group suggested that Glioma, which is a cancer of high unmet clinical need, could present an opportunity for interferon replacement therapy.

A new lead for cancer treatment

Following on from the success of this project, ILC Therapeutics are proceeding to pre-clinical trials with two potential products. The technology developed in this project could be a massive opportunity for glioblastoma treatment and is perhaps a ray of hope that is desperately needed in the treatment of this devastating disease.

“This IBioIC project has helped raise private investment for ILC Therapeutics and has had important impacts on our business model as a whole.” Professor William Stimson, ILC Therapeutics