Two US charities are teaming with UK-based cancer vaccine specialist Scancell to continue the development of its leading lung cancer vaccine.

Both the Addario Lung Cancer Medical Institute (ALCMI) and the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation (ALCF) will collaborate with Scancell to evaluate the company’s SCIB2 vaccine.

SCIB2 is Scancell’s second cancer vaccine based on the company’s patented ImmunoBody platform.

The technology introduces specific genes into a type of immune cell called a dendritic cell whose main role is to digest foreign molecules and present them on their surface. Doing this activates other immune cells and in turn induces an immune response to that specific foreign molecule.

In the case of SCIB2, the foreign molecule in question is NY-ESO-1 – a molecule associated with poor prognoses in melanoma patients when expressed in high volumes, but also known to be involved in lung cancer.

Scancell claims the ImmunoBody platform induces a far more amplified immune response than existing cancer vaccines. The company also claims that SCIB2 can complement other therapies such as PD-1 inhibitors to help amplify their effect.

“We have generated pre-clinical data that suggests that SCIB2 could be the ideal complement to existing and emerging checkpoint inhibitor therapies to treat NSCLC and so provide an effective new potential treatment option for patients with this devastating disease,” said Scancell CEO Richard Goodfellow.

The new partnership with ALCMI and ALCF will lead to the design and development of a phase 1/2 trial of SCIB2 in patients with NSCLC. The trial is expected to begin next year and will take about 18 months to complete.

“This partnership enables us to access an important clinical programme that could also accelerate the development of this groundbreaking immunotherapy technology,” said Steven Young, ALCMI president and chief operating officer.

“Combining our two foundations’ unique resources will increase patient engagement with the goal to bring new treatment options to NSCLC patients,” added ALCF chair and ALCMI founder Bonnie J. Addario.