Dendritic Cell Platform
Therapy based on dendritic cell modulation
Dendritic cell (DC) is the “conductor” of immune reaction. DC has sensors to detect the invasion of virus or bacteria. After recognition of the invaders, DCs are activated and initiate the various immune reactions to protect human body from infection.
We develop innovative drugs based on modulation of DC functions, which are very unique comparing to the ones developed based on the conventional strategy. DCs sense the invasion of virus or bacteria and give orders to immune cells to defed the own body. The DC modulating drugs are expected to have lower side effects since such immune cells specifically recognize non-self and do not affect normal autologous tissues.
Conventional therapies for autoimmune diseases, such as steroidal anti-Inflammatory drugs, suppress broad range of immune responses. Meanwhile, our DC modulating drugs only target immune cells which are involved in the progress of diseases. In addition, as they have different mechanisms of actions to the current therapies, it is expected that our DC modulating drugs can be used along with other current therapies to enhance the efficacy. It is also expected that the side effects will be ameliorated by allowing decrease in the dosage of conventional drugs by the combinatorial usage.
Cancer cells derive from own cells but sometimes have different bioactivity from the original normal cells, which is why immune system specifically recognizes cancer cells as non-self. Thus the regulation of DCs may cure cancers through activation of immune system. On the other side, as the immune system is over-activated in autoimmune diseases, suppression of DCs may treat such diseases.
We expect therapeutic strategy by DC modulation to have lower side effects and higher efficacy when it is combined with current therapies. We also find the potential that such therapies reduce the dosage of conventional medicines to suppress side effects. Moreover, since our DC modulating drugs have distinctive mechanisms of actions, they can be applied to the patients who cannot use or do not respond to the current therapies. Among the two subsets of DCs, myeloid DC (mDC) and plasmacytoid DC (pDC), we specifically aim on development of innovative therapies for cancers and autoimmune diseases by the regulation of pDCs. Currently, we are concentrating on development of antibody drugs targeting pDCs and DNA nucleotide drugs targeting TLRs (sensor of non-self in dendritic cells).