|Oral Talactoferrin Alfa|
The Company’s lead investigational agent is oral talactoferrin alfa (talactoferrin).
Talactoferrin is a man-made (recombinant) form of a naturally-occurring human protein that plays an important role in the establishment and functioning of the body’s immune system.
Patients drink talactoferrin as an oral solution. Once talactoferrin is swallowed, it makes its way through the digestive system. After passing through the stomach, it is thought to bind to cells in the gut wall, which leads to the release of important proteins known as chemokines and cytokines. The release of these proteins triggers the recruitment and activation of immature dendritic cells (white blood cells which form part of the human immune system) in the gut-associated lymphoid tissue (GALT), the largest immune organ in the body.
Dendritic cells play a key role as sentinels in the immune system. In the treatment of cancer, activated dendritic cells are believed to identify tumor cells as foreign to the body and present this information to other immune cells (effector cells). This information aids in instructing effector cells how to recognize the tumor cells as foreign invaders, which in turn means that the effector cells can respond more strongly to attack and destroy the tumor cells. Because the activation of the dendritic cells and subsequent immune response starts in the GALT, away from the tumor cells, this may help to counteract the self-defense mechanisms used by the tumor cells to fight off the anti-tumor offense by the effector cells. This may enhance the anti-tumor immune response initiated by dendritic-cell mediated immunotherapies.