T cells play a cardinal role in the human immune response system. Auto- or alloantigenic recognition or mutations can provoke undesirable immune responses that lead to autoimmune or oncological diseases. In such autoimmune and oncological diseases a T cell subset called effector memory T cells (TEM) escapes the control of the immune system and destroy the body’s own tissues or become malignant.
The down-regulation of the complete T cell system by medication would ease such harmful immune responses but would also disrupt the protective immune response network. Therefore, it is desirable to target molecules whose expression is restricted to TEM cell subsets in order to maintain the overall protective immune response.
Interestingly, auto-reactive and malignant TEM cells express the potassium channel Kv1.3 that is strongly required for the regulation of TEM cell proliferation upon activation. Expression of Kv1.3 is highly restricted to these cells and is therefore regarded as a molecule of choice for selectively targeting TEM cells.
selectION’s si-peptides bind with high affinity and selectivity to the Kv1.3 ion channel and inhibit potassium signaling through the ion channel pore. Blocking of Kv1.3 by si-peptides disrupts the signaling pathway necessary for the TEM cells proliferation process and stalls the pathogenic activation and proliferation cascade.
conoGenetix has filed a composition-of-matter patent application in May 2014 (Title: “Kv1.3 potassium channel antagonists” – PCT – WO2015/169901) with worldwide Coverage – AUS, CAN, CN, EU, IN, IS, JPN, KR, US.
selectION has an ongoing partnership with the Center for Experimental Surgery at the Hospital Großhadern, Munich, Germany.