GeoVax Immuno-Oncology Programs

Unlike conventional therapies (e.g.  radiation, chemotherapy, antibody, etc.), therapeutic cancer vaccines have the potential to induce responses that not only result in the control and even clearance of tumors, but also establish immunological memory that can suppress and prevent tumor recurrence.  Convenience, safety, and low toxicity of cancer vaccines could make them invaluable tools to be included in future immunotherapy approaches for treating cancer.  

We believe our MVA vector platform is well-suited for development of therapeutic cancer vaccines based on the expression of tumor-associated antigens such as MUC1, Cyclin B1 or others.  Our early preclinical data are extremely encouraging, leading to multiple research collaborations, and we plan to further expand upon our efforts in this important area.

Solid Tumor Cancers

We are using our MVA-VLP vaccine platform to express abnormal, aberrantly glycosylated forms of the cell surface-associated Mucin 1 (MUC1) protein that is associated with a wide range of cancers, including breast, colon, ovarian, prostate, pancreatic, and lung. We are collaborating with a leading expert in cancer immunotherapy at the University of Pittsburgh for assistance in selection and testing of vaccine candidates. We are also collaborating with ViaMune, Inc. and have shown that our MVA-VLP-MUC1 vaccine in combination with ViaMune’s synthetic MUC1 vaccine significantly reduced tumor burden in a transgenic human MUC1 therapeutic mouse model. Additionally, we have expanded our oncology efforts through collaboration with Leidos, Inc. for combination with novel peptide checkpoint inhibitors developed by their Explorations of Global Health team. These combined oncology program efforts have the potential to yield multiple vaccine candidates against various types of cancers.

Our clinical approach for development of our immuno-oncology program will use standard-of-care (SOC) treatments, vaccination, and immune checkpoint inhibitors (CPI) to unleash a patient’s immune system to fight their cancer.

Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) – associated Head and Neck Cancers

In July 2018, we began collaborating with Emory University on the development of a therapeutic vaccine for human papillomavirus (HPV) infection, with a specific focus on head and neck cancer (HNC). Our work in this area was expanded in November 2018 through a collaboration with Virometix AG. This is an important research area as there are currently no medical treatments for chronic HPV infections, which can lead to the formation of cancerous tumors.

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