IMM‑101 consists of M. obuense, a harmless environmental bacterium. M. obuense was first isolated by Professor Tsukamura in Japan. In the nineties, Professor John Stanford grew M. obuense on a special medium and isolated a variant which he called M. obuense NCTC13365. Immodulon has the sole rights to M. obuense NCTC13365 and is developing IMM‑101 in clinical trials. IMM‑101 is a natural bacterium, a member of the Actinobacteria, which according to Professor Graham Rook's Old Friends hypothesis, would have been routinely consumed by our ancestors as part of their diet. Indeed, we have co-evolved with microbes present in our environment including soil, water and our food for millions of years and have come to expect important clues to our immune system from them, providing a service essential to health. Only recently modern living (e.g. urban conditions, inappropriate use of antibiotics, reduced animal interaction, processed food) has altered our exposure. Immodulon is developing a strategy to “re-introduce” patients to beneficial bacteria to optimise the body's immune response to disease.
Mechanism of action
Results from non-clinical studies suggest that IMM‑101 modulates the innate and adaptive immune systems, in response to cancer. The main goal of cancer immunotherapy is to activate the immune system and generate tumour-specific cytotoxic CD8+ T cells (cytotoxic T-lymphocyte) in vivo (in a living organism). The immune system has developed several cytotoxic mechanisms to destroy cells which have undergone malignant transformation; these include cytotoxin secretion and antibody dependent lysis.
Immodulon’s hypothesis is that the mode of action of IMM‑101 in cancer is the sustained activation of the patient’s immune system including both innate and adaptive immunity, as well as the induction of CD8+ CTL which may target tumour cells. Immodulon continues to generate data to support this hypothesis.