Speaking today at the American Association of Cancer Research Special Conference on Tumor Immunology in Miami, Florida, Dr. Ofer Levy, Senior Scientist at Compugen Ltd., presented data supporting the therapeutic potential of CGEN-15001T and CGEN-15022, proteins discovered by Compugen, as immune checkpoint targets for cancer immunotherapy. This prestigious conference features talks by key opinion leaders, invited to discuss new findings in the field of tumor immunology. Presentations cover both basic and translational research, highlighting rapidly developing advances in this breakthrough approach to cancer treatment.
CGEN-15001T and CGEN-15022 are both membrane proteins which were predicted and validated by Compugen as novel B7/CD28-like immune checkpoint candidates. Such checkpoint proteins are expressed on the surface of cancer cells and other cells within the tumor microenvironment, and their negative immune activities protect the tumor from being attacked by the immune system. Both Compugen targets have shown robust inhibitory activity in different assays of T cell activation, and in his talk, Dr. Levy presented some of these findings. The robust inhibitory activities of these novel immune checkpoints, which were previously demonstrated using each target's extracellular domain fused to an Fc antibody fragment, have now also been shown for the targets’ native membrane forms, which is an important finding for antibody targets.
In his talk, Dr. Levy presented expression profile data for CGEN-15001T and CGEN-15022 in various cancer types, demonstrating substantially different expression patterns for the two drug targets. As previously disclosed, CGEN-15001T is expressed in various solid cancers and hematological malignancies, including prostate cancer, melanoma, Hodgkin's lymphoma and Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, such as T and B cell lymphomas. In addition, CGEN-15001T was shown to be expressed in the infiltrating immune cells within the tumor, further supporting an immunomodulatory role for this target in cancer development. In comparison, CGEN-15022 is highly expressed in liver, lung, breast, colorectal, prostate and ovarian cancers, as described today by Dr. Levy. The high expression levels observed in these cancers compared with their respective normal cells support the development of antibodies with high specificity toward the cancer cells.