Cancer is a leading cause of death in the developed world and has historically been treated with surgery, radiation therapy, and chemotherapy, which use nonspecific mechanisms to attempt to remove or to kill cancer cells. More recently, therapies have focused on harnessing the immune system to fight cancer. Cancer is famous for its ability to deceive, appearing to the immune system as normal tissue while wreaking destruction on the body. Vaccines consisting of neoantigens mobilize the immune system to target the tumor cells. Earlier cancer immunotherapy drugs targeted antigens that also can be expressed in normal cells, making healthy tissues potentially vulnerable to an immune response.
Frame Therapeutics is dedicated to transforming the treatment of cancer by directing the immune system towards Frame neoantigens. Neoantigens arise from somatic mutations that differ from wild-type antigens and are specific to the tumor of each individual patient, thereby providing tumor specific targets for developing personalized cancer vaccines. We focus on Frame neoantigens that are either unique to a tumor or that are shared, enabling off-the-shelf immunotherapy. The presence of Frame neoantigens in cancer cells and their absence in normal cells makes them compelling, untapped targets for cancer therapy. By directing the immune system towards these Frames, our therapies will offer a new level of patient- and tumor specificity in the field of cancer immunotherapy. Personalized Frame-based immunotherapies represent a unique therapeutic avenue, applicable to almost all patients with cancer.
Neoantigen-targeted therapies are different from other attempts that provide the immune system with a target, because many prior efforts focus primarily on ‘tumor-associated antigens’ which, unlike neoantigens, are not specific to the tumor and are also found in normal cells. The exclusive specifity and possibility to use this type of therapy broadly across different cancer types, give neoantigen-targeted therapies a potential significant benefit over targeting tumor-associated antigens.
Each tumor expresses a unique set of Frame neoantigens. There are multiple ways of targeting such Frame neoantigens. The idea of a vaccine is to arouse the body’s response to neoantigens, and to teach it to target neoantigens that it did not respond to before. Frame Therapeutics' first product in development is a Frame-based anti-cancer vaccine targeting the 'Whole Framome' of patients with lung cancer. Cellular immunotherapy, such as T-cell therapy, provides an additional way of targeting Frames. At Frame Therapeutics, further developments are aimed at off-the-shelf immunotherapy targeting shared Frame neoantigens.