The overarching aim of this research proposal is to develop new immunotherapy against Multiple Myeloma (MM) based on activation of so called Natural Killer (NK) cells. MM is a disease that is currently incurable. Although there are many available therapies that keep the disease in check, there is a high need for new treatment strategies to improve survival and offer cure. During the past decade, breakthroughs in immunological research has shown that we can harness the immune system to fight cancer. NK cells have an intrinsic capacity to kill cancer cells. In this project, which represent a multidisciplinary Nordic collaboration, we will develop a new type of immunotherapy based on very small proteins that direct NK cells to the cancer cells. We will develop disease relevant mouse models to fast track clinical implementation of the best drug candidates developed within the program.
NK-Engage will develop and provide preclinical proof-of-concept (PoC) for a novel synthetic small polypeptide (OP-X) for the treatment of multiple myeloma. OP-X will be a first in class, small peptide-based compound for Natural Killer (NK) cell mediated immunotherapy, with superior features regarding tissue penetration and immune cell activation. By project completion, the efficacy of the OP-X lead compound will have been validated in a novel pre-clinical humanized animal model. With the datapackage generated in NK-Engage, the consortium can enter final preclinicalstudies including IND enabling studies such as GLP-Tox, and subsequentlystart clinical testing of OP-X.