Applications: Oncology

There is evidence from animal studies with mice bearing pankreas tumors that MALP-2, when topically applied near the tumor, significantly enhances the mean survival time of these mice. There are also first indications from animal experiments that the spreading of metastases is diminished by MALP-2 application.

It is possible, but has not yet been proven, that MALP-2 acts in at least two ways in these systems: (i) it may activate cells of the innate immune system such as macrophages and dendritic cells which are silenced by the tumor, (ii) it may then act as an adjuvant by affecting these accessory cells to express co-stimulatory molecules (see below), thus raising a specific immune response in these mice against their tumor cells.

Pankreas tumors are particularly rapidly growing and the prognosis of patients with this type of tumor is not encouraging. A phase I/II study was performed with patients suffering from inoperable pancreas carcinomas. Although carried out with a small number of patients only, the results suggest that MALP-2, when applied into the remaining tumor during surgery, extends the life expectancy of these patients.

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The results from a first clinical study suggest that MALP-2 in combination with gemcitabine exerts a life prolonging effect (black lines), when compared to the life expectancy of patients treated with gemcitabine alone.