Zona Pellucida (ZP), a cancer immunotherapy, is in pre-clinical phase. Proof of principle of ZP3 immunotherapy was obtained in a transgenic animal mouse model for granulosa cell ovarian cancer and another ZP3 expressing mice tumour model.
A mixed humoral/cellular response was demonstrated preventing the formation of tumours as well as reducing the size of existing tumours and preventing the occurrence of metastases. ZP3 immunotherapy can be applied to ovarian cancer, prostate cancer, (non-small cell lung) cancer and other ZP3 expressing cancers. Two most recent patents are filed in August 2009 (prostate cancer [PC]) and October 2017 (lung cancer [LuCa]), so the project is patent protected until 2020 (PC) and 2037 (LuCa). Pantarhei is looking for partners to develop ZP3 immunotherapy for active and/or passive immunisation for all cancer applications. For more information, see Pantarhei Oncology.
The Zona Pellucida (ZP) is a glycoprotein matrix layer around the oocytes (egg cells) in the ovary, that plays an essential role in fertilisation and implantation of an embryo. The human ZP layer contains four different immunogenic glycoproteins (ZP1-4), that are specific for the ovary and do not occur anywhere else in the female or male body, implying potential safety (no cross-reactivity) when ZP is used as immune target.
In collaboration with the Institute of Biomedicine at the University of Turku, Finland, Pantarhei has discovered that some malignant tumours such as ovarian cancer, prostate cancer and lung cancer express ZP3 antigens abundantly in 60-90% of the cases in the primary tumour as well as in metastases.
Based on these findings, Pantarhei has patent protected the potential use of ZP antigens for the treatment of ZP expressing cancers. Since earlier unpublished research has shown that ZP3 is the strongest immunogen, the treatment concept is focused on active and passive immunisation against the ZP3 antigen. The demonstration of expression of ZP3 by a tumour is a biomarker for treatment.