Admune Therapeutics LLC is conducting research to determine the efficacy of heterodimeric Interleukin-15:IL-15Ra (hetIL-15) in the treatment of cancer patients. The company has begun enrollment in a Phase I clinical study in humans through the National Cancer Institute at the National Institutes of Health. Pre-clinical studies of hetIL-15 have shown a wide safety profile.
The cytokine hetIL-15 is important for the development, survival, and proliferation of many lymphocyte subsets, including natural killer (NK) and CD8+ T-cells (for review). Heterodimeric IL-15 is a member of the 4-helix-bundle protein family that includes growth factors, and that have found great uses as protein therapeutics. These include human growth hormone, Interleukin-2 (IL-2), erythropoietin and GM-CSF. HetIL-15 acts on the surface of cells as a noncovalent complex with membrane-embedded IL-15Ra to engage the IL-2/IL-15 receptor beta/gamma complex on nearby cells, a process termed trans-presentation. In addition, hetIL-15 is circulating in the plasma as a soluble heterodimer of IL-15 with the processed extracellular part of the IL-15Ra, and is essential for the homeostasis of the immune system. Exogenous administration of hetIL-15 can be used to grow lymphocytes to very high levels and to push them towards an activated stage with minimal toxicity. Several pre-clinical models have indicated the ability of hetIL-15 to enhance the response of the immune system against infections and cancer. These properties make hetIL-15 an attractive candidate agent for cancer immunotherapy. Admune Therapeutics LLC has proprietary technologies for the production and use of hetIL-15 in cancer immunotherapy.