Immuno-Cell Therapy is known as a systemic treatment with minimal adverse reaction in cancer treatment. Basic concept of the therapy is to strengthen immune function of human body for elimination of any abnormal cells such as virus-infected or malignant cells from the body. In other words, immune cells of patient are activated and expanded outside of the body and infused into the patient for the immune cells to fight against disease.

Immuno-Cell Therapy is categorized as a cell medicine as well as a regenerative medicine represented by cultured skin, cartilage, and stem cell transplant, and is an advanced therapy based on immunology and molecular biology.

In general, the Immuno-Cell Therapy can be used for sole treatment as well as a combination therapy with standard therapies, such as surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy, against advanced cancer. It is also expected that Immuno-Cell Therapy could be effective as an adjuvant therapy after surgery for prevention of recurrence.

- Adoptive T cell therapy: CTL(cytotoxic T Lymphocyte) therapy
Cytotoxic T-Lymphocyte Therapy ("CTL Therapy") uses majority of Cytotoxic T-Lymphocytes ("CTL",) which are specific to tumor antigen, in cell population. The CTL is induced when T-Lymphocytes are presented tumor antigens by other immune cells. We are developing methods for activation and expansion of antigen-specific CTLs for the treatment of cancers and viral diseases, investigating ways to enhance the memory of T cells and make antigen presenting cells from various peripheral blood cells for efficient adoptive cell therapy. In clinical protocols developed with hematologist and oncologists in Seoul St. Mary,s Hospital, about 30 patients have received viral (EBV and CMV) or tumor (AFP and WT-1) antigen-specific cytotoxic T-cells. At first, we performed the adoptive transfer of EBV-specific polyclonal T-cell lines after autologous HSCT in three relapsed patients with angiocentric lymphoma, known to be associated with the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). Our findings demonstrate that the adoptively transferred cells could reconstitute EBV-specific CTL responses in these patients. In second clinical trial, a patient with relapsed AML was treated by immunotherapy with Wilm’s tumor 1 (WT1)-specific cytotoxic T lymphocyte (WT1-CTL). High frequencies of IFN-γ secreting CD8+ T cells specific for WT1 were detected. Sustained remission after WT1-specific immunotherapy raised the idea that adoptive transfer of vitro cultured leukemia-specific CTL can be successfully applied to treat hematological malignancies in an allogeneic SCT setting.

- Dendritic cell vaccine therapy
Dendritic Cell Vaccine Therapy is well-known as one of the tumor specific Immuno-Cell Therapies. The therapy is comprised of Dendritic Cells ("DC",) which present tumor antigens to T-Lymphocytes. Types of DC Vaccine Therapy are; 1) therapy with tumor lysate resected from surgery, 2) therapy with synthesized peptides (conjunctions of several to some dozen of amino acids,) and 3) therapy that involves direct injection into tumor local. In connection to 1) and 2) of the DC Vaccine Therapy, DCs are differentiated from monocytes, isolated from peripheral blood of patient, and then are cultured outside of the body with proteins extracted from tumor lysate or synthesized peptides which enable DCs to present antigens on their surface. In other words, DCs are educated and memorized specific target by up-taking antigen of tumor cells outside of the body. However, DCs do not attack tumor by themselves, but present certain target on their surface to T-Lymphocytes, which will be induced to directly attack tumor. Therefore, it is expected that such cultured DCs will efficiently induce as many lymphocytes as possible inside of the body after the infusion of DC Vaccine Therapy.
As our preclinical study, therapeutic vaccines including DC as adjuvant cell and modified antigen gene or protein enhancing immunogenicity have been developed in animal tumor model. DC vaccination following adoptive T cell transfer was performed to overcome these limitations of each modality. The injection of DCs after adoptive T cell transfer showed a synergistic effect. Moreover, the concomitant immunization showed potent anti-tumor effects resulting in complete inhibition of tumor growth in 2 days tumor model.

Surgery Radiotherapy Chemotherapy Immuno-Cell Therapy
Treatment Method Removal of cancer by surgical operation Irradiation of X-rays, heavy particle iron beam, and the like Administration of anticancer drugs Lymphocytes and other immune cells activated and expanded outside of the body and infused to patient's body
Treatment Mode Local Local Systemic Systemic
Characteristics Effective against early-stage cancers Early-stage cancers, inoperable cancers because of their location. Advanced cancers, postoperative microscopic cancers, and inoperable advanced cancers Systemic treatment maintaining QOL Preventive effect on recurrence has been reported in several previous articles.
Target Cancer Early-stage solid cancers Head and neck cancers, uterine cancer, etc. Curative effect on choriocarcinoma, acute myelogenous leukemia, malignant lymphomas, testicular cancer, etc. Almost every cancers (excluding some blood cancers, including leukemia and T-cell malignant lymphoma)