22 Apr 2007   |   News

Allergies: €1M needed to test cancer immunity link

Investment Opportunity


€800,000 to €1million is the amount needed in private investment or licensing to further test a possible cancer treatment under research at the Medical University of Vienna.


The research, led by Professor Erika Jensen-Jarolim, head of the University’s Department of Pathophysiology, has found that the body can be immunized to produce antibodies that attack tumours.  The research, published in Cancer Research, is part of an Austrian Science Fund (FWF) project studying immunoglobin E (IgE) antibodies, which are involved in causing allergic reactions.


“Of course private investments would be desirable to further push our work. Next steps are in vivo mouse models and a comparative oncology trial in veterinarian patients,” said Prof. Jensen Jarolim, “Licensing and direct investment are interesting options”.


The intellectual property rights are currently owned by a University of Vienna spin-off company called Biolife-Science.  Biolife-Science enhances cooperation between experts from complementary domains by bringing together scientists and management partners to work on projects.


The IgE antibody is a class of antibodies that plays a key role in causing an allergy sufferer's immune system to overreact. Oncologists are already familiar with IgE as studies have shown that those with raised levels of IgE are less likely to suffer from certain types of cancer. Allergy sufferers are at a lower risk of developing cancer since, as well as attacking allergens such as pollen, the highly efficient antibody can also attack tumours.  The aim of the initial research programme was to make the antibody act directly against tumours and encourage long-term production of the antibody in the body through active immunization.


Prof. Jensen-Jarolim and her team succeeded in producing an active IgE-stimulating tumour vaccination in mice.  A peptide similar to a tumour peptide was fed to mice, while reducing stomach acidification to hinder digestion of the peptide, triggering a type of allergic reaction producing tumour-specific IgE antibodies against the tumour-like peptide.

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