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Curative by Design™
Although immunotherapies have revolutionized the treatment of cancer, the outcome will still rely on what a person’s T cells ultimately ”choose” to go after. For at least 70% of us, it won't be enough. We all need to be one of the lucky ones.
Engineering the T cell to recognize a specific protein fragment on tumor cells is the most direct way to assure tumor cell killing. This strategy has led to remarkable achievements in curing certain blood cancers. There have been glimmers of evidence that T cells are indeed capable of eliminating solid tumors. However, engineered
T cells are not yet conquering solid tumor cancer because how best to direct T cell killing in solid tumors has been unclear.
Verik brings new clarity to effective tumor targeting, opening the door for curative T cell therapy in solid tumors.
The deliberate targeting of tumor regeneration as a way of curing cancer defines what makes Verik‘s strategy unique. A tumor's regenerative response has distinct needs, and we've capitalized on those needs to find ways to target and eliminate a tumor's ability to persist and progress.
Technology and data create exciting opportunities; how we apply them determines their ultimate medical impact. It's something we understood from experience. We knew the most significant challenge to solid tumor targeting would be embedded in a tumor's biology.
The biology of a tumor first appears dynamic, adaptable if not chaotic, yet some capabilities must remain for cancer to persist and progress. We knew that T cells would ultimately need a robust and rational connection to the tumor. What the T cells recognized would have to be connected to a tumor's essential functions–functions required for cancer to persist.
Our skill and experience working with normal human biology provided a significant framework to understand the dynamics of tumor biology. At the genetic level, cancer biology is complex, highly variable, and highly personal. At the molecular level, it seems implausible that one could eliminate a type of cancer in many people by targeting a single protein–that silver bullet. While we are all unique in many ways, our organs work on the same principles. Likewise, genetic details of patients’ cancer may vary. Tumors have a lot in common, usurping processes rooted in normal biology; types of cancer will progress and kill in remarkably consistent ways. It helped us recognize first what pathways, and then what networks of proteins are likely to matter most in a tumor's ability to persist. We then looked for shared genetic changes within these networks that would make the target cancer-specific and thus a target for the T cell. We've now discovered such proteins in several forms of solid cancer. These proteins are so crucial to a tumor’s persistence that targeting them with a T cell immunotherapy could eliminate protein-expressing cancers in a one and done way–that silver bullet for many patients.