Recently, the National Institute of Immunology (NII) has received a trademark for India’s First Indigenous Tumor Antigen SPAG9.
- India’s first indigenous tumor antigen SPAG9 was discovered by Dr Anil Suri in 1998 who is heading the Cancer Research Program at NII.
- In a recent development, the SPAG9 antigen has received the trademark ASPAGNII-TM.
- Currently, ASPAGNIITM is being used in dendritic cell (DC) based immunotherapy in cervical, ovarian cancer and will also be used in breast cancer.
- Immunotherapy is a new approach that exploits the body’s inner capability to put up a fight against cancer.
- With this approach, either the immune system is given a boost, or the T cells are “trained’’ to identify recalcitrant cancer cells and kill them.
- In this personalised intervention, those patients expressing SPAG9 protein can be treated with DC-based vaccine approach.
- In DC-based vaccine, patient’s cells called monocytes from their blood are collected and modified into what are called dendritic cells. These dendritic cells are primed with ASPAGNIITM and are injected back to the patient to help the ‘fighter’ cells, or T-cells, in the body to kill the cancer cells.
- The ASPAGNIITM is a true example of translational cancer research and the Atmanirbhar Bharat spirit.
- It will eventually be helpful to patients in India and the world. This will be a real morale boost in affordable, personalized and indigenous products for cancer treatment.
- Cancer kills 8.51 lakh people in India every year (International Agency for Research on Cancer, 2020).
- As per World Health Organization (WHO), one in 10 Indians will develop cancer during their lifetime, and one in 15 will die of cancer.
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