Torigen Pharmaceuticals is a company focused on being at the forefront of immuno-oncology innovation. We strive to bring novel approaches to the market to tackle companion animal cancers, building on years of existing scientific research and pushing the boundaries of innovation.
The Science of Tissue Vaccines
Torigen has 10+ years of supporting pre-clinical research behind our treatment, a tissue vaccine. Tissue vaccines consist of material harvested directly from the tumors themselves. This is in contrast to vaccines produced from cultured cell material and only include one or several clonal, cultured cell lines. Tissue vaccines are composed of antigens associated with tumor cells and the supporting tumor stroma, the lattice that supports growth and expansion of tumors. This results in a vast menu of antigenic targets, such as those offered by neoplastic cells, tumor extracellular matrix, and tumor-associated fibroblasts, being presented to the immune system. Each of these components, singularly or in combination, help to promote tumor growth, metastasis, immunotolerance and are directly targeted by tissue vaccines. In addition, they include antigens that may be expressed only following in vivo growth versus in vitro growth. In vitro tumor proliferation provides a limited and potentially altered antigenic profile of cultured cells (Suckow, Heinrich and Rosen, 2007). Vaccines created from entire tumors allow for a greater variety of antigens to be presented to the immune system. The identity of individual antigens is often unknown, but it can be assumed that the rich choice of antigenic targets increases the likelihood of a successful immune response (Suckow, Heinrich and Rosen, 2007).
There are two reasons why targeting tumor-associated antigens (TAAs) may be a more effective method of immune-targeted therapy (Suckow, Heinrich and Rosen, 2007). First and foremost, stromal cells are more stable than tumor cells. Tumor cells are often genetically altered, which causes loss of immune-detectable antigenic epitopes. This results in antigen loss variants (ALVs). In contrast to tumor cells, stromal cells are less likely to undergo genetic transformation. Therefore, stromal cells have a decreased ability to avoid the immune system. Furthermore, stromal cells often aren’t histotype limited. This means that a certain TAA could be expressed amongst a variety of cancer types, making a more universal therapy possible. Secondly, as previously discussed, the tumor stroma is required for tumor propagation. Thus, stimulating immune destruction of the stromal framework will leave the remaining tumor cells without support and unprotected from T cell elimination. To target the tumor stroma is to target the entire tumor.
Cancer progression is dependent upon a tissue environment that favors cell growth and development. The lack of tumor stroma development results in little-to-no tumor cell propagation. Moreover, while tumor cells actively mutate to evade immune recognition, the tumor stroma remains more genetically constant (Suckow, Heinrich and Rosen, 2007). There is also a collective potential of targeting TAAs and exposure to a variety of antigens. Tissue vaccines are a solution to problems associated with immunotolerance and lack of adequate antigen choice (Suckow, Heinrich and Rosen, 2007; Kammertoens et al., 2005; Hofmeister et al., 2008), and can be used in hopes of enabling a patient to regain effective anti-tumor immunity.
Research into cancer immunotherapy, more specifically the effectiveness of tissue vaccines, has culminated in the development of our product, an autologous cancer vaccine comprised of deactivated glutaraldehyde-fixed tumor (GFT) tissue combined with the medical-grade adjuvant, particulate small intestinal submucosa (SIS). Studies have proven the effectiveness of such a treatment in significantly decreasing cancer tumor malignancy and metastasis. The mechanism of action requires further elucidation, however, it is currently understood as SIS-facilitated immune system interaction with targeted GFT cells and synergistic induction of a rejection microenvironment through a robust Th1 immune response to incite cancer immunity. However, it should be noted that Torigen’s autologous cancer vaccine is an experimental treatment regulated under USDA 9CFR 103.3. It is only for use under the supervision and prescription of a licensed veterinarian.
So far, over 500 companion animals have been treated with our autologous prescription product. Please contact us for data profiles of the tumor types treated to date.
Research & Development at Torigen Pharmaceuticals
With multiple technologies currently in development, Torigen Pharmaceuticals will continue to progress immuno-oncology technology, commercializing innovative new approaches to empower veterinarians around the world to tackle companion animal cancer.
Autologous Prescription Product
Our autologous prescription product uses the animal's own tumor cells to create a personalized immunotherapy.
Autologous Prescription Products created by Torigen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. are regulated by the USDA Center for Veterinary Biologics, for use under supervision/prescription of a licensed veterinarian. Safety and efficacy have not been established.
In addition to our autologous prescription product, Torigen Pharmaceuticals has a strong research and development pipeline. Our dedication to innovative research and collaborative relationship-building allows us to leverage the veterinary field and provide novel advances to the immuno-oncology space.
More information will be provided upon request.
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Suckow MA, Rosen ED, Wolter WR, Sailes V, Jeffrey R, Tenniswood M. Prevention of human PC-346C prostate cancer growth in mice by a xenogeneic vaccine. Cancer Immunology Immunotherapy 56:1275-1283, 2007.
Suckow MA, Heinrich JE, Rosen ED. Tissue vaccines for cancer. Expert Review of Vaccines 6:925-937, 2007.
Suckow MA, Wheeler JD, Wolter WR, Sailes V, Yan M. Immunization with a tissue vaccine enhances the effect of irradiation of prostate tumors. In Vivo 22:171-177, 2008.
Suckow MA, Hall P, Wolter W, Sailes V, Hiles MC. Use of an extracellular matrix material as a vaccine carrier and adjuvant. Anticancer Research 28:2529-2534, 2008.
Suckow MA, Wolter WR, Sailes VT. Inhibition of prostate cancer metastasis by administration of a tissue vaccine. Clinical & Experimental Metastasis 25:913-918, 2008.
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Suckow MA. Cancer vaccines: harnessing the potential of anti-tumor immunity. The Veterinary Journal, 198:28-33, 2013.
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