A peptide therapeutic designed to stimulate an enhanced immune response for the treatment of infectious disease or certain cancers.
- Induces enhanced proliferation of T-cells compared to existing technologies to compensate for compromised immune conditions.
- More efficacious in treating or preventing cancers when combined with other therapies with potentially fewer side effects.
Currently, no therapies exist to enhance T-cell production. Therapies capable of addressing this challenge could potentially be used to treat hepatitis, drug-resistant tuberculosis, influenza, HIV as well as a multitude of other chronic infections or immunodeficiencies. With cancer, effective therapies have extensive side effects, and novel treatments are in high demand. Patients with either chronic infections or cancer could benefit widely from an enhanced immune response therapy.
GM-CSF (cytokine granulocyte macrophage colony stimulating factor) and IL-7 (Interlukin-7) are cytokines that elicit important yet distinct effects on the immune system. GM-CSF can induce proliferation of T cells and target specific antigens to receptors on these cells, whereas IL-7 is a cytokine important in T cell development. IL-7 treatment prolongs survival of tumor-bearing mice when combined with GM-CSF treatment. Emory investigators have engineered a fusion peptide "GIFT7," comprised of both IL-7 and GM-CSF to be used as a biologic therapeutic. The effects of GIFT7 are greater than the sum of its parts, with enhanced efficacy compared to co-administration of GM-CSF with IL-7 independently. GIFT7 could be used to stimulate an immune response to dozens of chronic diseases with no known cure. Further, GIFT7 could be combined with other peptides, vaccine compounds, adjuvants, or co-stimulatory molecules to target viral or tumor-associated antigens to target immune cells to specific infections or cancers.
The fusion peptide has been engineered and tested in vitro and in vivo.
Publication: Hsieh, J. et al. (2015). Clin Trans Immunol, 4, e37.
Read our feature innovation