Bacteriophage Technology, from Infectious Disease to Anticancer Therapy
06 April,2021

Anticancer Therapy and Immunotherapy


Generally the drugs used for ‘chemotherapy’ are categorized as 1st generation anticancer drugs, and ‘targeted agents’ that specifically attack cancer cells are categorized as 2nd generation anticancer drugs. Including checkpoint inhibitors, the drugs used for immunotherapy, which stimulate the human immune system to attack tumors, are classified as 3rd generation anticancer drugs. The 3rd anticancer drugs (immunotherapy) are known to have less toxicity and drug resistance than conventional anticancer drugs because they use the human immune system. However, the 3rd anticancer drugs did not produce meaningful benefit due to lack of T-cell activation which can attack cancer cells and the presence of alternate immuno-suppressive mechanisms. Therefore, advanced technology is needed to increase the therapeutic effect of immunotherapy.



Harnessing Bacteriophages as Anticancer Vaccine for Immunotherapy


According to ‘Phage Display-Based Nanotechnology Applications in Cancer Immunotherapy’ published in the international scientific journal MDPI, the bacteriophages expressing peptides on their surfaces can induce robust humoral immunity as well as cell-mediated immunity in the human body due to their ‘self-adjuvant’ nature.



Induced humoral response by bacteriophages expressing tumor associated antigen (TAA)

 [Source: Extracted from the article] 


The article introduced various studies that investigated the prophylactic and therapeutic effects of anticancer phage-vaccines by utilizing such properties of phages. For instance, Pfd8wf phages expressing MAGE (melanoma antigen gene) controlled tumor growth in the mice implanted with melanoma cells, and the overall survival of the mice was extended. In another example, λ phages expressing HER2 antigens showed anti-cancer effects. A number of in vitro and in vivo studies using bacteriophages expressing other cancer-related antigens or peptides also showed therapeutic effects, indicating that bacteriophage-based anticancer vaccines can be developed as promising immunotherapies.



Expansion of iNtRON’s Bacteriophage Application


As is known, bacteriophage is a great treatment tool for bacterial infectious diseases due to its powerful bactericidal activity. Moreover, bacteriophage still has a strong bactericidal activity against antibiotic resistant bacteria. As the problem of antibiotic resistance becomes more serious, bacteriophages are getting more attentions. In addition, bacteriophages can be utilized as immunotherapy in oncology as previously mentioned. iNtRON is paying attention to the fact that immunotherapy using bacteriophage can induce both humoral and cellular immunity. Therefore, iNtRON is developing a phage-based vaccine platform along with the existing focus area, bacteriophage and endolysin (including itLysin) development for bacterial infectious diseases. Particularly, we are making a great effort to develop a new immuno-oncology therapy platform by utilizing PHAGERUS® technology including antigen display and payload technique.


Aiming to become a global company in “diagnosis, prevention, and treatment,” iNtRON possesses the world-class full-line-up technologies including itLysin® targeting infectious bacteria, PHAGERUS®, which is the basis of the development of antiviral vaccines and therapeutics, and ‘bacteriophage customized CRISPR-Cas9’ for enhancing and engineering bacteriophages through rich experiences in research and development. We will continue our efforts to accomplish a lot of achievements.



it is iNtRON.



Source :


Phage Display-Based Nanotechnology Applications in Cancer Immunotherapy 

Goracci, Martina et al. Molecules (Basel, Switzerland) vol. 25,4 843. 14 Feb. 2020, doi:10.3390/molecules25040843