A widespread belief among biomedical researchers today is that we all have pre-cancerous growths occurring within our bodies on a fairly regular basis.
When this happens, our immune systems, if they are healthy and functioning properly, quickly recognize these cells as being abnormal and kill them
before they can accumulate in sufficient quantities to constitute a threat to our overall health. However, sometimes the immune system can fail in this vital
task, either because it has become defective in some way or because the aberrant cells have devised a way to shield themselves from detection.
Therapeutic vaccines are injections of substances designed to activate a patient's immune system in order to attack a specific target, such as a cancer cell. Scientists have experimented with using tumor cells as vaccines for the past 30 years. The theory behind their work is simple: vaccinate a cancer patient with tumor cells and the vaccine will induce an immune response that destroys tumor cells throughout the body. Rather than high-energy radiation or chemotherapy treatments that have many unwanted side effects, an effective vaccine would be able to mobilize the body's own sophisticated cellular defense mechanisms in order to hopefully contain and possibly eradicate the disease.
Unfortunately a major barrier called immunosuppression limits the efficacy of most therapeutic cancer vaccines. Immunosuppression happens because most tumor cells produce molecules that allow the cells to hide from the immune system, preventing the development of clinically effective immune responses and potential survival increases.
The patented NovaRx technology helps to overcome this immunosuppressive barrier. NovaRx scientists observed that a molecule called transforming growth factor-beta (TGF-β) is one of the most potent immunosuppressive molecules produced by tumor cells. The Company's technologies block the immunosuppressive effects of TGF-β in the vaccines, allowing the immune system to 'see' and attack the tumor in a natural way.