Idogen´s technology aims at developing tolerant dendritic cells that are programmed for defined molecules, also called antigens. Idogen´s treatment method can be adapted to various diseases through small changes. In autoimmune diseases, the body’s immune system fights self-antigens, which could be avoided by reprogramming the immune system with Idogen´s technology. To prevent rejection after organ transplantation is another field.
Idogen has demonstrated the technology´s potential in several proof-of-concept studies. Idogen has successfully managed to generate human tolerogenic dendritic cells as well as demonstrate in an animal model of Hemophilia A that treatment with tolerogenicdendritic cells results in a decreased incidence of inhibitory factor VIII antibodies and that the treatment has a long-term effect. Idogen has also shown “proof-of-principle” in transplantation by preventing rejection of insulin producing cells in animals with diabetes and in a model for rheumatoid arthritis, by delaying disease progression.
Proof-of-concept in human cells
Idogen has, in a proof-of-concept study in human cells, successfully managed to generate human tolerogenic dendritic cells. After treatment with zebularine in vitro, the dendritic cells have successfully inhibited the activation of T cells. The experiments have been repeated with immune cells from several individuals. The results are an important milestone for the continued development of a tolerogenic cell therapy.
Proof-of-concept in a haemophilia A model
In 2015, Idogen initiated a ”proof-of-concept” study of the company’s cell therapy in an animal model of hemophilia A with human factor VIII. The study results showed that treatment with tolerogenic dendritic cells results in reduced formation of factor VIII inhibitory antibodies and treatment has a prolonged effect. If the method can be transferred to humans it means that treatment with tolerogenic cell therapy provides protection against the formation of inhibitory antibodies in patients with hemophilia A.
Proof-of-principle in transplantation model
Idogen has achieved “proof-of-principle” in transplantation. In 2013 a study in diabetic rats was published, with two groups of nine rats receiving an insulin-producing cell transplant from a different strain. One group underwent two weeks of Zebularine-treatment from day six after transplantation whereas the control group was untreated. In the study, a statistically significant difference between the group treated with Zebularine and the control group was observed. The study was terminated on day 90. The figure below shows that the control group exhibited 100% allograft rejection after 40 full days and that the rejection was significantly delayed or completely prevented in the group treated with Zebularine (Nittby et al, PLOS ONE, 8: 1-8, 2013).
Proof-of-principle in a rheumatoid arthritis model
In an ongoing collaboration with Professor Richard Williams’s research group at the University of Oxford, the progression of rheumatoid arthritis was shown to be strongly inhibited in an animal model. These results were obtained when treating animals with Zebularine for a limited period, starting when they show early joint symptoms in collagen induced arthritis.