GlycoSyn partners with international experts in many countries and with world leaders based in its home territory.
In a current project, GlycoSyn is part of a publicly-funded collaborative Health Research Council of New Zealand (HRC)-funded initiative that will manufacture personalised cancer vaccines for high risk melanoma patients.
New Zealand has one of the highest rates of melanoma among developed countries (see graph) and the indigenous Māori people are over represented in the statistics.
The leading-edge programme involves clinicians from Wellington and Auckland hospitals as well as scientists from the Malaghan Institute of Medical Research (MIMR), the University of Auckland (UoA), GlycoSyn and its parent company IRL.
The vaccine has three components: autologous dentritic cells (MIMR), synthetic long peptides or SLP (UoA) and iNKT cell agonist (adjuvant) α-Galactosylceramide (GlycoSyn).
The autologous dentritic cells, derived from the patient’s own blood, are cultured with various factors and matured into potent and specialised dentritic cells which are then loaded with the peptide antigens derived from human tumours and α-Galactosylceramide.
The clinical trial taking place is designed to test whether the vaccine is more efficacious when it contains the potent immune stimulant α-Galactosylceramide. Although well-known and used extensively in model studies, α-Galactosylceramide has not been used in this context before.
The HRC programme is closely supported by a Ministry of Science and Innovation (MSI)-funded programme that is researching novel α-Galactosylceramide derivatives which will be patented by IRL. These compounds are expected to offer some clear advantage to α-Galactosylceramide and could be included as a third arm in the clinical trial.