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Novel recombinant BCG for immunotherapy of bladder cancer

Funder: National Cancer Institute

Funding period
USD 290 K
Funding amount
PROJECT SUMMARY Bladder cancer is the sixth most common form of cancer and one of the most deadly. In 2017 alone, approximately 79,000 people will be diagnosed with bladder cancer in the U.S. and 17,000 died of the disease. Patients with advanced or metastatic disease have a dismal prognosis and few treatment options after first-line chemotherapy. More recently, therapy with immune checkpoint inhibitor antibodies has shown durable responses in advanced and metastatic bladder cancer, but the reported response rates warrant improvement. Vaccination against mutant tumor neoepitopes is progressively recognized as a strategy to potentiate the immune response of cells activated through immunological checkpoint blockade. Large-scale sequencing efforts have characterized the mutational landscape in bladder cancer and have already identified commonly mutated genes that could be specifically targeted for cancer therapy. The overall goal of this SBIR phase I proposal is to construct and develop proprietary immunotherapy agents for the treatment of advanced and metastatic bladder cancer based on live Mycobacterium bovis BCG genetically engineered to target mutated forms of FGFR3, an oncogenic driver protein with recurrent alterations in cancer. BCG is a non- pathogenic attenuated intracellular bacterium that stimulates diverse innate and anti-bacterial adaptive immune responses and is well-known for its long safety track record as a tuberculosis vaccine and as a non-specific immune stimulant with modest activity in early-stage bladder cancer. Our hypothesis is that BCG can be successfully modified to express neoantigen protein fragments containing tumor-associated mutations, leading to specific antitumor activity against bladder cancer in vivo. Our first Specific Aim is to construct and validate recombinant BCG strains (rBCG-NEO) that stably express and efficiently secrete proposed tumor neoantigen protein fragments of FGFR3 (FGFR3MUT). Candidate strains with highest secretion and expression levels of human proteins will be selected following the integration of the polyepitope expression plasmids into the BCG genome and prioritized based on their biological properties and functional effects in in vitro immunological assays. The second Specific Aim is to evaluate anti-tumor efficacy of rBCG-FGFR3MUT candidates in a therapeutic vaccination setting. To achieve this, we will employ syngeneic mouse models of bladder cancer in immunocompetent wild-type mice. The most efficacious lead strains will be selected for further preclinical development. In Phase II we plan to test the activity of rBCG-FGFR3MUT in humanized mouse models and evaluate its immunogenicity, safety and additional administration routes. Novel immunotherapy products discovered in this study may be used to treat patients with advanced / metastatic, muscle-invasive bladder cancer or developed for other tumor types such as head-and-neck or lung cancers.

USD 170.2 M
Aggregated funding amount
USD 569 K
Average funding amount
Project list item
Dissecting myeloid cell-mediated resistance to immune checkpoint blockade in bladder cancer


USD 703,400
2020 - 2025
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Chimeric RNAs and their implication in lymphatic metastasis of bladder cancer

National Cancer Institute to HUI LI

USD 205,913
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CD40 agonism for the treatment of bladder cancer

National Cancer Institute to CHRISTOPHER STUART GARRIS

USD 64,554
2020 - 2023
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Effect of APOBEC3 on Bladder Cancer Biology and Response to Immunotherapy

National Cancer Institute to ANDREW TRUONG

USD 45,016
2020 - 2023
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A new bladder cancer model based on tissue reprogramming and gene targeting

National Cancer Institute to FLAMINIA TALOS, DAIFENG WANG

USD 203,843
2020 - 2021
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Roles of epigenetic regulators in bladder cancer progression

University of California - Cancer Research Coordinating Committee to Zhu Wang

USD 74,960
2020 - 2020
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Bladder cancer chemotherapy potentiation with a multiprong arachidonic acid pathway modulator

National Cancer Institute to PAUL THOMAS HENDERSON

USD 300,000
2019 - 2020
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[The association between SORL1 and advanced bladder cancer] - Original in Japanese

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science to Takanobu UTSUMI

USD 26,335
2019 - 2021
Project list item
Developing a SMART scaffold for bladder augmentation

National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering to GUILLERMO ANTONIO AMEER, ARUN SHARMA, JOHN ROGERS

USD 709,004
2019 - 2023
Project list item
Investigating underlying molecular mechanisms of epigenetic therapies in muscle-invasive bladder cancer

Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network to Swathi Ramakrishnan

USD 1,700
2019 - 2019
Project list item
Recombinant CCL2 as a novel treatment strategy for bladder cancer

Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network to Neelam Mukherjee, Robert Scott Svatek

USD 50,000
2019 - 2020
Project list item
Targeting FGF in Bladder cancer after Neoadjuvant Immunotherapy and Surgery

American Association For Cancer Research to Joshua James Meeks

USD 25,000
2019 - 2020
Project list item
Identifying Immunological Basis for Bladder Cancer Sex Bias

Canadian Institutes of Health Research to Hyunwoo Kwon, Zihai Li

USD 26,376
2019 - 2022
Project list item
[Efficacy and toxicity of bladder instillation of anti-tumor peptide for inhibition of bladder tumor in mice] - Original in Japanese

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science to Toru SHIMAZUI, Takahiro KOJIMA, Hiroyuki NISHIYAMA, Kazuhiro YOSHIKAWA

USD 39,492
2019 - 2022
Project list item
[Studies on a novel immunotherapy for bladder cancer by NAD+] - Original in Japanese

Japan Society for the Promotion of Science to 博史 上原, Kazumasa Komua, Haruhito AZUMA

USD 39,508
2019 - 2024
Project list item
Combatting Bladder Cancer by Inducing Epithelial Turnover

National Cancer Institute to SOMAN N ABRAHAM

USD 372,404
2019 - 2021
Project list item
Phase 1/2 Study of Modern Immunotherapy in BCG-Relapsing Urothelial Carcinoma of the Bladder - (ADAPT-BLADDER)

National Cancer Institute to NOAH M HAHN

USD 1,313,632
2019 - 2024
Project list item
A revolutionary shape memory alloy-based disposable device for bladder cancer removal

European Commission

USD 55,967
2019 - 2019
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