Vaxinc: harnessing the power of natural killer cells in cancer therapies

Author

Future Worlds

19 February 2018

Future Worlds is an on-campus startup incubator and platform: championing the innovative commercial opportunities being developed by researchers and students at the University of Southampton.

The latest Future Worlds startup is Vaxinc, an immunotherapy research group within the University of Southampton’s Faculty of Medicine.

Founded by Professor of Hepatology Salim Khakoo, Vaxinc are pioneering a new and unique vaccination strategy that delivers protection against cancer. Natural killer cells (NK cells) are a type of white blood cell which exist in our immune system and play a major role in the rejection of both tumours and virally infected cells. These cells express many different receptors and can react in a number of different ways when stimulated through one receptor. Vaxinc have discovered a new way that NK cells respond to small viral peptides, which allows them to be targeted and switched on through a simple vaccination strategy. This can be used to combat not only cancer but a number of diseases including global pathogens such as Dengue, Zika, Yellow Fever and Hepatitis C.

With the current market for cancer immunotherapy estimated to become worth more than 110 billion dollars by 2021, scientists and doctors around the world are researching new ways to use immunotherapy. While other researchers are treating patients in trials with off-the-shelf NK cells, Vaxinc are taking a different approach. The team are developing an NK cell-based vaccine that can be far more cost-effective and have a much wider reach compared to current products.

To find out more, visit the Future Worlds Website.

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