The detection of immunostimulatory sequences within DNA strands outside of any translation has led to the development of innovative approaches using oligonucleotides (ODNs) with CpG motifs as a therapeutic strategy in cancer. More than 100 clinical trials using CpG-ODNs have been conducted to evaluate thein utility in preventing or treating cancer but also allergies and infectious diseases.

CpG-ODNs recognize TLR9 receptor expressed by immune cells. The use of CpG-ODNs as TLR9 ligand makes it possible to activate the two components of the immune response: its initiating and its effectiveness.

The direct stimulation of dendritic cells (DC) by CpG-ODNs promotes the selection by the immune system of a suitable antigen providing a Th1-type immune response. Then, the activation of macrophages and natural killers (NK) cells increases the anti-tumor cytotoxicity, either directly or by the antibody-dependent cell cytotoxicity (ADCC). Moreover, thanks to the local secretion of Interferon? (IFN?), the generally weak expression of the major histocompatibility complex (MHC-I) by the tumor cells can be induced, making them more sensitive to the cytotoxic T lymphocytes.
Thus, we can consider two approaches in the treatment of cancers by CpG-ODNs: using of CpG-ODN alone, locally, to promote the emergence of an immune response (in situ immunization), or using combined CpG-ODN as adjuvants in a vaccine setting or combined with monoclonal antibodies.

With the Litenimod, Oligovax benefits from a leadership position in the development of immunotherapy strategies in cancer and covers various approaches to the use of CpG-ODNs.


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