Cancer vaccines are a class of immunotherapy drugs that hold much promise as a potentially curative treatment for cancer. However, historically attempts to harness the power of the immune system through vaccination to recognize and kill tumors, while demonstrating tantalizing effectiveness in animal models, has failed to translate to the clinic. The reasons for the failure of cancer vaccine drugs in the clinic is thought to be due to the ability of cancers to evoke mechanisms to evade immune destruction.

Research into the mechanisms by which tumors evade immune attack led to the discovery of checkpoint molecules. These are molecules expressed on the surface of tumor cells that send signals to killer immune cells that are present in the tumor beds. Killer immune cells are the effector cells capable of killing tumor cells. When a killer immune cell interacts with checkpoint molecules expressed on a tumor cell, signals are sent which turn off the killer cells and prevent an immune attack.

The purpose of checkpoint molecules is to prevent immune cell attack of normal cells. Without this mechanism there would be rampant autoimmune disease. Tumors use this natural immune suppressor mechanism to evade immune attack. Checkpoint blockade drugs are a new class of immunotherapy drugs. Several of these drugs have now been approved by the FDA, such as Yervoy, Opdivo and Keytruda. These drugs work by blocking the interaction of the checkpoint molecules on tumors and counter receptors on killer cells. In this manner, the tumors cannot turn off the killer cells. However, since checkpoint blockade drugs block checkpoint signals expressed universally on all cells in the body, their use in cancer is often associated with severe toxicities.

In addition, it is not enough to just block checkpoint molecules when attempting to mediate a killer immune cell attack against tumor cells. In order for checkpoint blockade to be effective, it is also necessary that there be killer immune cells resident in the tumor beds that are blocked by checkpoint signals. Most patients do not have resident killer immune cells in the tumor beds. This requirement for there to be resident killer immune cells and the rarity of having resident killer cells in tumor beds are reasons why the response rates of checkpoint blockade drugs are low. It is also why checkpoint blockade drugs were first approved in indications like melanoma where a higher percentage of patients have resident killer cells in the tumor beds than other indications.

Immunovative has developed the next generation of immunotherapy drugs using Mirror EffectTM technology which integrates cancer vaccine technology to create an effective killer cell response in the tumor beds of patients that did not develop such a response naturally with a mechanism to elicit a natural checkpoint blockade mechanism targeted only to the tumor and not to normal cells as occurs with current checkpoint blockade drugs.

The immune effect that occurs after allogeneic stem cell transplant (“Mini-Transplant” or “Allogeneic Stem Cell Transplant”) has been described as the most powerful anti-tumor mechanism ever discovered. This mechanism is known as the “graft vs. tumor” effect or “GVT”. The GVT effect is the only mechanism known which is capable of killing or debulking chemotherapy-resistant metastatic disease. However, the clinical application of the GVT effect is severely limited due to an often lethal side-effect called “graft vs. host disease” or “GVHD”.

The detrimental GVHD effect is intimately associated with the GVT mechanism. Anything that decreases GVHD toxicity, proportionally suppresses the beneficial GVT effect. Similarly, anything that increases the GVT effect also increases the GVHD toxic effect. The separation of the beneficial GVT effect from the detrimental GVHD effect has been described as the “holy grail” of transplantation research. The “Mirror EffectTM” technology is a patented method for preserving GVT-like effects without GVHD toxicity.

The GVT effect of allogeneic transplant can kill chemotherapy-resistant cancer. In the CT scan on the left, the red arrows indicate multiple tumors in the liver in this breast cancer patient. The CT scan on the right after allogeneic stem cell transplant shows the liver completely cleared of disease. This demonstrates the power of the GVT effect. Unfortunately, this patient later died of the GVHD side effect of this procedure.




Treatment strategy designed to use the power of the human immune system to kill tumors and prevent their recurrence.
No requirement for a matched donor or chemotherapy/radiation conditioning prior to treatment.
Innovative technology – proven and non-toxic.
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Healthcare professionals

Therapeutic anti-tumor vaccine developed from core break-through technology called the "Mirror Effect™“ which opens a pathway to treating patients with metastatic cancer that have failed all available therapy options.
Elicits a GVT-like mechanism without the GVHD toxicity.
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Privately-held Israeli biopharmaceutical company spin out from Hadassah-Hebrew University Medical Center with headquarters in Jerusalem.

Over 200 individual private shareholders and grant support from the Israel Office of the Chief Scientist.
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