July's IISS features Dr Manuela Zonca, Principal Scientist - PsiOxus.
Talk title: Tumour Reengineering
Speaker: Dr Manuela Zonca
Dr Manuela Zonca is Principal Scientist at PsiOxus Therapeutics Ltd, Oxford, UK where she has been working since 2018 in the Research team (more specifically in the Immunology team) on the development of novel oncolytic virus-based, Tumor-Specific Immunogene (T-SIGn) therapies for the treatment of cancer. She was previously a scientist at a biotech company called LeadArtis based in Madrid, Spain, providing her expertise to assess the functionality of engineered trimeric antibodies for cancer immunotherapy. Prior to this, she was a postdoctoral fellow in an academic group at CNB in Madrid, working on virus-cell interactions and vaccine strategies. She did her PhD in Cancer Immunology and innate immune system physiology.
Combining different anti-cancer immunotherapies is currently a major focus of clinical oncology studies, but while this can increase efficacy this benefit usually comes at a price of increased, dose-limiting toxicity. Because these agents are dosed systemically, they frequently cause unwanted immune inflammation in a variety of organ systems as well as in the intended tumour lesions.
Tumour re-engineering aims to overcome these issues by enabling selective delivery to and/or production of the therapeutic agent or combinations in tumour tissues where they are needed while minimizing systemic exposure. We are developing a tumour-specific immune-gene (T-SIGn) vector approach that delivers biotherapeutic gene payloads for production by the tumour cells themselves. These aim to promote anti-tumour immunity from within the lesions by targeting elements of the tumour and local lymphoid microenvironments. This presentation will use data generated with different clinical and preclinical stage T-SIGn candidates to illustrate these concepts.
PsiOxus is a clinical-stage oncology company pioneering systemic immune-oncology products that drives sustained reprogramming of the tumour microenvironment to overcome the central challenge of resistance to therapy.