Sep 22, 2022
Dr. Robert Ross is the CEO of Surface Oncology, which is focused on immune modulation in the treatment of cancers. Their hypothesis is that IL-27, a cytokine, is telling the immune system to ignore the cancer and providing a hiding place for the cancer cells. By administering their drug SRF 388 to bind up all the IL-27, the immune system can properly identify and fight the cancer.
Robert explains, "SRF 388, all of these drugs, have such needlessly complicated names when they get started, but SRF 388 is an antibody. It's a protein that basically is trying to neutralize a cytokine. Cytokines are proteins in the body that the immune system uses to talk to other cells in the immune system. There are cytokines that stimulate the immune system, that make the immune system act more robustly, and there are cytokines that suppress the immune system. These are proteins that make the immune system go awry, for lack of a better word."
"We know, and we've used for a long time, drugs to try to mimic the effect of cytokines that stimulate the immune system. Well, what we noted, and our scientific advisory board noted, was that in some patients with cancer and in some types of cancer, you saw the presence of this uncommon cytokine that we call IL-27."
"IL-27 is a protein. It circulates in your body, but usually, there's very little of it, and in some patients with cancer, there are much higher levels of it. In the tumor itself, there are very high levels. Our hypothesis, our idea, was that it is possible that IL-27, that cytokine, was preventing the immune system from attacking the cancer."
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